My Venture into Hifi with Vandersteen Model 1

First off I must truly say how much I love this form and the wealth of information, the members provide. I was lucky to pick up a pair of Vandersteen Model 1 Speakers for a prayer. Lets say they were almost given away. The aesthetics of the speakers are I would have to say about a 9, seems as though they were frozen in time. I do not know much about these particular speakers. My question to the knowledgeable members out there, are these speakers any good and are they worth giving a go! I was planning on using them with my McIntosh MC30 tube amps. I got these from my Step father, he no longer has any use for them and figured I would like them. I guess I will hang on to them for a while and see how the Vandersteen sound with them.

Any input will be well appreciated.

Hello Dhunte, and welcome to Audiogon. First to answer your question about the Vandersteens They are decent speakers at their price point and if they sound good to you and considering the price, enjoy them. I'm wondering if you are a new poster to this forum? No other responses from our esteemed members yet. They are a strange lot here, not often will you get a straight answer or opinion to your questions. Often more questions, some that should be asked, but quite often a condescending and snobbish answer is offered. It reminds me of how salesmen in some 'high end' audio shops would treat customers back in the day. I'm sure there is no shortage of arrogance today in some quarters. Anyway, welcome and keep the questions coming.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Hi-Fi ! The Vandersteen 1's are terrific speakers, and a great way to experience high quality sound. Do you have the original Model 1's ? or the 1B's or newest version 1C's ? I personally have been enjoying my Vandy 1C's for ten years now, and they have sounded better with each incremental upgrade to the rest of my system. Click on my system and take a look. There is something pretty magical about the synergy between the 1C's and quality tube amplification, so you'll probably be very happy with the Vandersteen -- McIntosh combination. Do a search on Audiogon for Vandersteen, and you'll find a wealth of nice threads about these terrific speakers. Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
They are well worth trying out with your tube amps. If it turns out that there is an issue with the speaker, such as a bad driver, replacement parts are readily available from the factory. The later models of the 1 are definitely better than the earlier ones but even the old ones are worth setting up.
I own a pair of the model 1's and found they sound best with tube amplification. They are not the most detailed, but I found them to be very enjoyable with the right electronics. Never heard them with Mac gear, and all rooms and listener preference's differ. Give them a try, you might like them. YMMV. TG
Gentleman that so very much for your input, to answer Rickman post yes this is my first post in this forum, a good friend told me about it. I do know that at times members can be a bit harsh towards new members, but I am just trying to get some input from the more knowledgeable veterans here. Adam 18, I would have to say that the speakers are the model 1, I did drop an email to Vandersteen, and included the serial number of both speakers in hopes they will be able to give me a bit more information.

I will keep you posted in my findings, once again thanks for giving me the time of day.

If you have speaker and amp then why are you asking people on forum what they sound like? why not play them and see for yourself?
Zanon, OP may not have an comparative context for the price - simply listening to the combo, and if a beginner, he won't be able to assess how good they are versus other options in the price range. I think they are much better than "decent" for the price - some might argue they are the best sub $1000 speaker with any semblance of full-range bass. Might be one of the first choices I would pick for a non-audiophile that wants a good, full range-speaker (with an NAD or Rotel 100 watter) and then wants to stop thinking about audio and the next upgrade.

The MC30 is a wonderful amp (good enough to look for a speaker that is likely to mate well with it), that may have just enough power, but my sense is that Vandersteen in general really needs SS or a very high power tube amp to deal with the large impedance swings and low impedance (2 ohms or so?) in the bass - not to say you won't like it, but you might not know what the 1s are capable of without trying them 100 watts and high current output. Personally, I think your amp deserves a better and better matching speaker (though the VS is very good for the money), the MC30s are first rate, with a little maintenance (cleaning, capacitor replacements, etc) they should last you a long time. Let us know if you ever think of selling them. One of the great vintage amps!! Really in another overall league than the VS1s IMHO.
Someone with more exact knowledge, please correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the only way to tell if they are 1B or 1C models is to look at the serial number. If there is a B or a C at the end, then they are either 1B or 1C models. I hope you enjoy them; they have a great reputation.

Thanks Pubul57, I really appreciate the input and the honesty, I have yet to but these babies together, from the following post I will pick up the speakers this week they seem to be worth a try. I did take the amps in to a local McIntosh dealer here is South Florida to have a once over and all he could say was WOW!! I guess thats a good thing. Thus starting me in the Hifi audio world. I guess it like a drug hard to kick, I am in the process of looking at other options to mate with my amps, or possibly buying some new ones. The problem is, being new there are so many options out there, one does not know where to begin. A good friend has been ranting and raving about the the tubes amps from Manley Labs, being that he has 2 mono blocks and I must say the sound is heavenly.

I guess I will start with what I have and work my way up from there. I think I keen on the McIntosh gear, seem like that is the way I am leaning, it's just finding some speakers that complement them.

Thanks for all the input.
What would work beautifully with those amps would be a pair of used Merlin TSMs - they are small monitors, and will not have the bass of the Vandersteen, but they are phenomenal speakers down to about 40Hz and easily driven by the Macs. I think with those amps you own a piece of history and they sure did know how to make amps back then - with a few parts replaced (capacitors, fuses, maybe tubes)you truly have a great 30 watt tube amp. Find speakers 89db and above sensitivity, with smooth and highish impedance (8 ohms nomiminal or higher, like Merlin)and you really have something worth holding on to, and rarer as the years go by. Manley Mahi? Snapper, etc are fine amps, but MC30s are iconic. Good luck.
Hey Dhunte21..... Be careful now and don't get too confused or all wrapped up in the "what's better ? game." You are gonna love the Vandy's with the McIntosh amps.... So, just build your system, sit back, and enjoy the music !! This is a very strange hobby........there will always be people who will tell you to spend more $$$, buy "better" stuff, and do things differently. Be smart, and learn to enjoy your favorite music at each step along the way. Being an "audiophile" is a personal experience, and there are a ton of opinions out there about how things should be done. Ultimately, the only opinion that really counts is your own.... if you can't wait to get home, power up your system, and spin your favorite tunes.... you're a winner !
So, relax, learn to love your Vandersteen -- McIntosh system, and have a ball !! Let the music move you.
Adam18, OP may very well love the Vandersteen/MAC combo, they are certainly great amps and hard not to have a ball with those beautiful monoblocks, but the Vandersteen 1 is not an ideal speaker for a low wattage tube amp, that isn't simply a matter of opinion with tons being equally valid, all Vandersteen speakers need high current power to sound their best, and that is not what the MC30s will provide. Whether you like a certain type of sound or not, and which is better in in many cases simply personal preference, but matching an amp to a speaker in terms of power (for loudness) and current (for frequency balance) is a bit more scientific and measurable than simple preference. I think OP has a very good entry-level speaker, and an all-time classic amplifier, but they are not ideally suited to each other - but I don't think that will keep him from being moved by the music. OP has much to be content about, but after all, this is a froum for audiophile nudnicks and system building (and the MC30s can be part of a great, not just good system) and he solicited opinions about the pairing.
Pubul57, Vandersteen speakers with large impedance swings and low impedance of 2 ohms? That couldn't be any farther from the truth. In fact, Vandersteen speakers are very easy to drive and extremely tube friendly. The impedance is 6.8 ohms +/- 2ohms and 90db efficient.

McIntosh MC30 monos will be plenty of power and it should sound good depending on associated equipment and cables of course.

Read The Absolute Sound review.
Definitely do not sell those amps! It is tempting to use the funds to purchase new stuff, just don't do it. If you do, 20 years from now you will be posting to some audio forum how you were given a mint set up MC30 tube monos but you sold them for some trendy amp of the month.
(((Merlin TSMs - they are small monitors, and will not have the bass of the Vandersteen, but they are phenomenal speakers down to about 40Hz))
40 hz yea with 12 DB of wall gain maybe
Pubic 57 why would you confuse him to go to a less efficient merlin minibox when he already has a full range easy tube load 90 db 8 ohm phase and time correct speaker
Vandies are also amazingly good with live recorded music.

with respect, i have no idea what you talk about. He bought his speakers for a "prayer" which I assume is low price. He already has amp. Someone who has both speaker AND amp and is asking other people what they sound like instead of just putting them together and seeing himself is crazy. It is like I am man with sight who has picture and asks people who have not seen picture asking other people what it look like.

Adam18 is correct. Play equipment, listen, and learn to trust own ear.

Dhunte21: Personal I would not play 90db sensitive speaker with 30W amp, but then my room is very big. I learn more about speaker by buying "get better sound" by jeff smith and playing with placement than hours spent on this forum listening to armchair audiophile who claim to predict what equiment sound like and what you like without knowing anything about your space and not knowing you. If you wish to develop a brain in this hobby, you need to learn to trust your own ears.

I will say this -- anything below middle C, or if you are more generous, an octave below middle C, is combination of your speaker plus your room. Therefore, you cannot really say what any amp/speaker combo sound like in upper bass on down because it does not take room interaction into account. You have speakers so you can try this yourself and you will hear what I am saying
Zanon, I have a very big room also and I have played 90db speakers with 14 watts to louder than comfortable levels. It depends on the amp.
My Bad, I misread the VS1 impedance data, it does seem it would be easy to drive and should do fine with the MC30; I owned the 3A Sig which I would certainly not drive with the MC30 - so yes, it should work fine in terms of power and especially off a 4ohm tap should have no problem with bass -sorry for causing confusion on that point. I still say the VS1 is a good entry-level speaker and your amps are great and good enough for wherever you choose to take your system in the future - as long as your speakers don't need too much power.
The VS 1B was my first speaker which satisfied me for 15 years combined with a Denon integrated. I never thought about an upgrade. Then some audiophile "friend" came along and ruined me and my wallet:-) I still have the 1B's and they still sound great.
But your not selling the Alexandrias, right? Actually, I did get my brother into a pair of 1Cs with Rotel integrated and CD and he is perfectly happy with no intentions of becoming an audiophile or opening his wallet anymore, he already feels that what he spent is ridiculous. Vandersteen new his market well, and now with the 5s and 7s, he pretty much hits all the market segments across the line.
Hey Pubul57.....Nice correction. The Vandy 1C's are indeed quite easy to drive with low power tube amps. My 55 watt Rogue Audio Cronus really matches well with them, and I've heard them sound fantastic with an old pair of 20 watt Bedini tube amps. They are truly wonderful sounding musical speakers, and they get better and better with upgrades to the front end. Happy Listening !
Then I think OP is in for a real treat, if you can't tell, I really love the idea of those amps! and it sounds like the price was right for the combo!!
Hey (again) Pubul57....... My compliments to you. Your system must sound absolutely wonderful ! You should be quite proud about what you have assembled. Bravo !
Yeah, an audiophile "friend" said....and, before you know it I opened up my wallet...:) One thing I noticed about Vandersteen owners, is that they do seem to move up the line as their finances permit, that speaks well for the brand. I would not be surprised if Audioconnection sells more Vandersteens than any dealer in the U.S., I'm sure he has helped many folks with that upgrade path.

P.S. Audioconnection is right, I did overstate the bass response of the Merlin TSMs, it is closer to 55Hz -2db without wall reinforcement - it is a very high quality small monitor and not a full-range speaker. Whether one would prefer Merlin to Vandersteen is for another thread, though I think they appeal to different types of listeners and rare that the choice would be between them.
Stick with the Vandersteen Model 1 & the Mac Monos.
A number of years ago I drove a pair of 1B's with a Quicksilver GLA stereo amp (35-40 wpc). It was glorious.
The pairing made real music. Set up the Model 1's properly,
use speaker wire like the Kimber 8TC, and enjoy!!
Don't listen to the naysayers. I actually used a very similar combination. IT WORKS!!!!
What naysayers? Everyone agrees the Vandersteens 1s are very good for the money - I did make a mistake regarding its impedance making me think a 30 watt tube amp would not work, but I acknowledge that mistake, so I have no doubt it will work with these execeptionally good amps, like your Quicksilvers. Will the OP like'em, well, that is as simple as plugging in as listening for himself. Now the OPs question was if the VS1 were any good and worth trying - of course they are. They are however entry-level speakers and if the OP is interested in better performance, there are certainly other choices down the road that will take him beyond with the VS1s can provide - the VS1s are a heck of a good speaker with close to full range performance for under $1,000 and should be on anyone's shortlist for speakers in that price range.
You can add a Vandersteen sub later. With a Vandersteen sub you will think your little Mac monos are several times more powerful. It really improves the sound in ways you would never imagine.
Rrog, you would take a VS1 with 2Wq sub over a 3A Signature? John R?
Gentleman, did not think my question would have created such a stir. I thank you all for your input! Once again I am new to these woods and all the info I can get right now is fantastic. I am still a little bit confused, I picked up the speakers and from what I have been reading cables do make somewhat a big difference in sound. Any suggestion on what I should purchase or is it up to personal preference.

Pubul57, Actually I'm trying to stay on topic. I'm still commenting on the OP's system which is MC30's and Vandersteen Model 1 speakers.

But to answer your question, I might depending on room size and budget.
Dhunte21..... I've always enjoyed the synergy between my AudioQuest cables and my Vandy's. As you are first starting out, don't stress about the cables. Simple AQ Type 4 speaker cables would be a good inexpensive beginning. But there are TONS of opinions out there about cables. Start out easy, hook up your new system this weekend, and begin to enjoy the music !
Rrog, staying on OPs topic is as simple as saying yes to both questions asked, they are good and they are worth giving a go with the MC30s - that is the answer and the end of the topic. But it would be boring to stop there, and we needn't and you didn't, by introducing the notion of the "next step", which would be to consider a VS subwoofer down the road, and a perfectly reasonable next step, that would certainly improve mid-range clarity and make life alot easier on the MC30s. The question I posed, was (given adequate finances, and a room large enough to give the 3As the space they need) if the next step to really improve upon the 1 would be to sell and trade up to the 3A or add a subwoofer. Not sure what the price differential would be, but the 3A to my ears is a significantly better speaker than the 1, most notably in much more resolved midrange (and of course deeper, more dynamic bass), so if it were my money and I was contemplating my next move, not that the OP is looking that far ahead (yet), I would argue that the 3A Sig is the better next step, IF one chooses to stay on the Vandersteen roadmap, absent financial considerations, or too small a room.

I trust the OP has been given enough encouragement to hook this stuff up, sit back, and enjoy - he is very much into the hi-fi venture with his equipment - and if he is truly a newbie, much better than he knows.
Public 57{would you take a Vandersteen 1c with a 2wq over a pair of 3As}
In his system with the 30 WPC power amps he would be best served with the 1C/2WQ combination. The 3A Sigs would need a more robust amp to properly drive them.
Agree, if he stays with the MC30s in the future (and why not), the 3A Sigs would not be an ideal match.
Dhunte21, you should be aware that there is a wide variety of opinions on the differences that cables make. Many maintain that they make little or no difference at all, as long as they are well made and not faulty in some way. Before dropping big bucks, I'd get some inexpensive stuff (16-gauge lamp cord or something similar) from Radio Shack or Home Depot and start enjoying music. In any case, I believe even small changes in the position of the speakers can absolutely swamp any sonic difference cables might make.

-Bob all you want about Vandersteen 1C's and tube amplifiers. Trust's an awesome combination. I just finished listening to Eva Cassidy "Live at Blues Alley" on my system, and I had tears in my eyes. The music sounded absolutely incredible !! She was in the room, singing just for me. These Vandy 1C's are beautiful speakers.
I Looked at the speakers and unfortunately they are not 1C they are just the model 1, I am sure with this in mind they are surly going to sound much different.
I've only heard the 1Cs, but (and I'm sure Audioconnection, John Rutan can answer this) although the Vandersteens have improved over time, making them such "well sorted" speakers with years of evolutionary development, I think your 1s still carry the basic house sound and that you really will get the essence of what the current 1C has to offer - I odn't think it is night and day, but again, I suspect JohnnyR has heard every VS speaker ever made.... In other words, they might be different, but not "much" different.
The oldest Vandersteen 1s are still a solid speaker and you will enjoy.
They sold for about 549 the pair back in early to mid 1980s
The later Vandersteen 1 Bs were a nice improvement over the 1.
1 C used new improved drivers, crossover improvements woofer moved from a 7 inch to 8 inch,newer tweeter offered to play louder with lower distortion and driver alignment.
The current model Vandersteen 1CI further improved by using the same tweeter thats in the Vandersteen 3A Sig, crossover improvements internal structural advances as well as improved transmission venting delivers a
noticeable smoother in room bass response,upgraded Binding post, same ones used in Signature models = improved transparency.
This now pushes this 1095 dollar the pair product into a whole different league.
Best Johnnyr
Looking ofr an update