Not Thrilled with Vandersteen 2CE Sigs - where is the first place to work on?


Trying to build up the system this year, bought some Vandy 2CE Sigs.  Have the anchors, following instructions for placement, built bass traps and a couple of acoustic panels in my medium-sized but odd-shaped basement listening area - still not thrilled.  Using laptop with Tidal and Dragonfly Red - and some stuff sounds GREAT (Steely Dan, SRV, Beck, Dire Straits, Wilco) - but disappointed in a lot of other stuff.  Some objective opinions on where my issues might lie?  Expectations too high? Hearing the truth of production variations?  Running an NAD C272 at 150WPC and an original 1979 APT Holman Pre Amp.  Not MAC, Bryston, etc - but was expecting more.  Thoughts? Rebuild/recap the APT?  Amp upgrade?  Where might the low-hanging fruit be?
gjinwi
Owned a pair of 2CI’s with the Sound Anchor stands years ago and enjoyed them although at the time my system was an old B&K ST 120 amp and a Sonic Frontiers SFL 1 preamp. It was a pleasant sounding rig, but agree they can be on the softer side of neutral. I’m sure the 2CE Sig’s are better but guessing as mentioned earlier they need room to breath almost like Maggie’s... at least the 2CI’s I owned did.

Totally agree using a computer as your source with an AQ Dragonfly Red not helping you much. You mentioned Tidal but is it the standard or HiFi subscription which is the better. If you’re on the Standard subscription you might want to upgrade or just move over to Qobuz which I feel is better, but not really sure the Dragonfly will show the differences. If I had to work with your system I’d probably stick with the Vandy’s and work on the components first, but that’s just my opinion. As mentioned the Bluesound Node 2i would be a piece to read up on and consider.
I had a pair of 2CE's that were in my main system for almost 20 years. The first thing I would say is that they are extremely fiddly speakers placement-wise. Need adequate room from the wall, and I mean like 3 feet at least. Have to get the rake angle right as well. One of the other commentors mentioned them needing a fair bit of power as well which I agree with. I ran them on Rogue Audio M120's. They seemed to have very good synergy with tube gear when I tested them.

You asked about recording quality being an issue and I would say that any true hi-fi system is going to poke holes in some albums that you love. If it's not recorded well, it's unlikely to sound good. I have albums I love that I might only listen to in the car because they sound compact with no soundstage or life on my system. 

Back to the speakers though. Vandersteen 2's are great bang for the buck if you like that sound. People talk about accurate and colored or all these terms and the truth for me is that different people like different things. It's what makes the world go round. The question is s do you like the sound of Vandersteen. Like tomstruck said, I like it so much I moved on to Quatros and am happy as a pig in shit. It's difficult right now but going to local shops and listening is how you figure this stuff out. 
where to start......lets deal with the egotist who had an unknown model 2 at home one time back in bancamp...with a quarter million sold since 1977 lets say it like saying I drove a Camaro.....

Some of run a variety of speakers and can understand strengths and weaknesses. i am a Vandersteen owner ( 7’s and Treo ) but also have in the various listening rooms, recording studio and mobile recording rack: Vandy, Quad, Apogee, Totem, Focal, Dynaudio, ....Bryston, ....

how far are they from back wall ? Biwired ? internal or external . what volume level generates a text from the War Department? what one cut sounds right, what one wrong ? a sketch and some homework are in order, PM me and i will help. how old is that NAD ? in the brown faceplate series ?

finally its a big ocean, you have a system.  you got some good advice on the signal chain.

finally, what a great world we live in where we have choices...but before ya ditch the Camaro, look under the hood. Ya know they built a few with the Iron Duke 2.5 L 4 banger...with the German Getrag box....
+1 mvrooman.  I had a problem w/ my 2Ce's too close to walls, moved them 8 ft into the room and the sound is completely different.  As for efficiency: for a while I was driving them with a 25 wpc tube amplifier and reached unpleasantly loud sound levels before the volume control was past 12noon. 
left out Thiel and ADS and....