Look into the Cayin line, great sound and value. The 100 model would drive the Vanies.
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McCormack amps have a long tradition with Richard Vandersteen. Richard used to show his speakers at Audiophile events with Steve McCormack's amps on a regular basis. A nice synergy! I have a SMc Audio modified McCormack amp powering my Vandy 3A Sigs to great effect. The high current and top notch parts make for a great match with Richard's speakers.
Why isn't vintage Mac a good idea? If you're ok with the risks of any vintage gear, Mac is a very safe bet. They can fix and tune up pretty much anything they've ever made. It's not free and nor is it cheap, but it's more than most companies can ssy they do.
Mac makes excellent gear that's built very well. It also sounds great to my ears. I'm not saying it's the best stuff out there, but nothing is the absolute best.
If you're interested in Mac gear, give it a go IMO.
Thanks for your input everyone. I realize that I did not specify anything about SS or tubes. At this point, I'm thinking SS. Seeing as I'm just getting into this, I'm leaning towards simpler, easier, lower maintenance alternatives and SS seems lower maintenance than tubes.
Also, I listen to all kinds of full range music - not just "reference" recordings. I get the sense that SS will have a firmer grip on the low end, which I imagine will be better for rock, house, hip-hop, etc.
I like the idea of an integrated due to "ease of use" but I wouldn't say I'm settled on that if I can get separates that sound better at a similar price.
I realize this isn't going to be the be-all-end-all system but if I could spend a few grand at this stage and get a high quality, competent system to start and develop a better understanding of my tastes and preferences as time goes on - then that's a win.
Thanks again for your help.
Hi Alex, just want to say that I also have the 2ce signature II and I am using the McIntosh MC2100. I can't tell you enough how musical the sound is. The staging is so clear as well as the transparency, the warmth sound to me is perfect. But then that's also depends on what preamp you're using and how the speaker are positioned. No matter what model Mac. you use, but I think the Vandy and Mac are a perfect match.
I second the McCormack recommendation with the following suggestions. A pair of McCormack DNA 0.5's (Deluxe if you can get them) you can start with one then add another later and vertically drive your 2Ce Sig's. Next find a TLC-1 or Micro Line Drive (MLD) both of these offer dual outputs that can be connected at the same time, the TLC-1 has a buffered and passive output while the MLD has an active and passive output. The MLD is the most versatile because the active output can be adjusted +/- 3dbs, the -3dbs point is about 1db higher than the passive output. These will offer you the opportunity to experiment with passive verses active route and discover which you prefer. Just remember with the passive route you need to pay close attention to the interconnects you use.
These are well within your price range and can be had here on Agon for half your price range as of this posting. If you like the sound of the combination you could always have them upgraded by Steve McCormack at SMc Audio. If your not sure the upgrades are worth your investment you could pick up a modified unit that comes available here on Agon every now and then.
My current set up consists of a SMc Audio TLC-1 Ultra controlling a pair of DNA 0.5's Deluxe vertically driving a pair of Vandy 3A Sig/ 2Wq combo. Have a pair of 0.5's at SMc Audio getting the Ultra Mono-block upgrade at the moment.
These recommendations will offer you a pleasing sound while you learn what you prefer in your setup.
UPDATE: Well, I did finally got a pair of the McIntosh MC601 (600watts), running balance between amp and tube pre amp and balance between Oppo bdp95 and tube pre amp. I must say, I have never been so happy and overwhelm, these amps is truly a tube like power amp. It may be over kill but, the clarity, detail and soundstaging it produces is just over the top. Even at low volume the detail and airy are just immaculate. My VPI Scout with Lyra Argo cart never sounded so good and sweet. It is so live like music.