Recommendation for HT w/Vandersteen 2Ce

I'm just getting started in setting up my HT. I've got a few decent components worth keeping + 10K to spend.

Here what I got (that I'm keeping):
Vandersteen 2Ce
MIT T4 bi-wire cables
Kimber / MIT interconnects
Cheap satellite rear speakers

Here are my planned purchases:
Vandersteen VCC (center chan)
Vandersteen 2W (Subwoofer)
Philips DVD50QAT (prog scan w/Faroudja chipset)
Pioneer Elite 720 HDTV

Heres what I need some help with (which brands/models):
Digital video interconnects
Power amp
Pre proc.

Should I go with a 5-chan amp or use multiple 2-channel amp? Other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
My HT used to be all Vandersteen: 4 indentical 2ce's and VCC. The only drawback of the 2's are that they don't have a very big dynamic range. If you have volume up for all kinds of sounds and vocals at fun levels, explosions will always bottom out the voice coils. Also, I always felt the VCC was too "dull and boxy" sounding. You might try one at home before buying. The Revel Performa center channel is so much better. I sure wish I had your Pro720. I'm still using a Pro97 (not hd).
I have a HT system built around my Vandersteen 3A Signatures, and have a few observations that may have some value for you.

First, as Mg123 said above, don't expect the 2Ci's to produce extreme sound pressure levels. They will do movie track and LFE sound fairly realistically -- but their strength is in accurate sound reproduction, which makes dialogue and nuances in the soundtrack very realistic.

If you are going to buy the 2Wq sub rather than the V2W (which is intended for HT use), you will need a pair of 2Wq's to properly do HT sound. The 2Wq is about 6db less efficient than the V2W, and they were intended to be used as a stereo pair to supplement each main speaker. Hence, it takes a pair of 2Wq's to get the same sound pressure level at a given voltage compared to the V2W. Also, the V2W connects directly to the pre/pro's ".1" / LFE outputs, whereas the 2Wq is driven off the full-range audio signal.

I have a pair of 2Wq's in my system, and think they are terrific. However, about 90% of the time I use my system for pure audio, so the HT aspect is obviously less important to me. They do a very good, but not sensational, job of re-creating explosions, etc., but they are GREAT with the music in soundtracks.

I have a VCC-1 Signature center channel, and think it does an adequate job. (My listening room is rather narrow, so there is not a lot of distance between the left/right main speakers and the VCC-1. If you have a lot of room between your 2Ce's and the proposed center channel, you may want to consider a different center speaker.)

The VCC-1 center channel speaker is not Vandersteen's best product, however, and if you have a large room, then you should investigate the VCC-5, which is a much larger center channel speaker. Of course, it has a MSRP of $2000, so it's a significant investment. Also, don't feel tempted to buy the Vandersteen VCC-1 Signature. I first owned the regular VCC-1, and had it upgraded to the "Signature" model, and subsequently regretted spending the extra money -- not worth it.

Regarding the rear surrounds: don't cheap out on this. If you do, I guarantee you will regret your decision. The reason I caution you about getting decent rear surround speakers is that the Vandersteens have excellent resolution, so poor rear surrounds become very noticeable. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on the rear surrounds, but you ought to be considering a pair that has a MSRP of $1000-1200. I tried several different speakers for rear channel surrounds, including two brands of direct-radiating speakers: a pair of B&W DM 601's, and a pair of Coincident Technology Triumph Signatures. I finally settled on the M&K SS-150 THX tripole surrounds (MSRP $1200), and have been very pleased with them.

The standard advice for surround speakers is to buy the same brand as your main speakers. This is reasonable advice, but you can still get excellent results with other brands that mate well with your 2Ce's. The Vandersteen VSM's are very good, but they are somewhat large and may prove to be "not wife friendly".

There have been a number of recent threads about "which amp should I buy for HT use", and "2-channel + 3-channel vs. 5-channel". I suggest you look at the Audiogon archives to see what has already been discussed. (To get my 2cents in here, I have a Bryston 4B-ST amp for the main speakers, and a Bryston 5B-ST for the center/rear speakers, and I am VERY
pleased with this setup. I also use a Bryston SP-1 pre/pro, but there are a number of very good pre/pros on the market today to choose from.)

Best regards - Scott C
Hello Dema:

I will have to second "Sdcampbell's" recommendation as far as a Surround Processor and Power Amplifier are concerned. But however, as often the case with Bryston's products, I feel that their "2 Channel" stereo amps are very good to begin with. So, I would say that their "5 Channel" versions of their amps will have to be just as good at least. If you have a Surround Processor that is also a very good stereo preamplifier, then all you have to do is switch off the center channel and the surround channels when you are listening to music. And you should be able to do that at either the control center, or the amplifier itself. So for that reason, I am going to go with "Sdcampbell's" recommendation of the Bryston SP-1 Surrond Processor/Preamplifier. But I am going to say that if your room is on the small side, then more than likely, you are not going to need neither a Bryston 4B nor a 5 Channel version of that amp. As the Vandersteens (2Ce's) tend to be rather efficient and relatively easy to drive, then you are not going to need a monster sized amp in order to get the most that you can get out of them. For the Vandersteen 2Ce's, then I think that a Bryston 3B, or the "5 Channel" 9B (which is the 5 Channel version of the 3B) should be more than enough.

Now, as I use Adcom electronics as the cornerstone of my audio system, I am driving my audio system's speakers with a GFA-545 MkII. And after using this amplifier for about four years, if my memory serves me correctly, I find it to be an open sounding amplifier. But it is also a little bright and grainy in the upper midrange and in the higher frequencies. But other than that, it is a good bass amplifier if it is used within reason. It seems to get the most out of my KEF's woofers, which in reality, they are bass/midrange drivers that measure about six-and-a-half inches or so. But at 100 Watts Per Channel, you cannot reasonably expect it to drive a monster sized 12'-to-15' subwoofer. And in my system, it is not used in that application either. But I also knew that it was going to be a bright sounding amplifier when I bought it almost four years ago. I was after a more open and dynamic sound. And the only way I could get that is to get one of Adcom's older "Bi-Polar" amplifiers. Their newer and current MOSFET amplifiers tend to sound to smooth and syrupy for my tastes. And they're not as dynamic sounding either. But anyway, knowing that my Adcom GFA-545 MkII is a "Bi-Polar" design, I knew it was going to be bright sounding in the beginning. And the fact that I was going to also mate it to a neutral sounding pre in the Adcom GFP-750 did not do anything to tame the bright sound of the GFP-545 MkII either. So, this is where the interconnects come it. I see that you are using MITerminator interconnects and speaker cable with your system. And given the electronics that you may be buying, I say that they are a good bet, and great match for your system. All MIT's tend to do is smooth out the rough edges of your system's sound without squashing its dynamics. They will extend the bass response, making it more powerful than it probably actually is, and make the midrange more open and transparent. But what they also do is remove the harshness and graininess in the upper registers without dulling the higher frequencies. So given your system, I'd say that the MIT's are a good bet for your system. Now for "digital" video cable??? I would go ahead and try the "M" series of Monster Cable's video cable. I don't believe you can go wrong there.

Also, my $.02's worth.

I'm from the seperate 2 ch + 3 ch amp school. I'd recommend spending more on the 2 channel than the 3, if you listen to mostly music. If you're mostly movies, a 5 channel amp would probably do. I was running a Threshold T400 stereo amp for my mains, and an Acurus 200X3 for surrounds. 80% of my listening was 2 channel, and I feel that when watching movies, you're visually distracted so you can get by with a less expensive amp. For surround processor, I'd recommend an Aragon Sounstage. I've seen them closing out at internet prices of $1500-$1900, brand new. It was a $4K processor, that has a 2 channel and 6 channel analog passthrough. It can't be beat for what it's selling for at closeout prices, if you can find one. Of the current ones, I think the Anthem AVM-20 would do quite nicely, but will cost you another $1K. It won't sound better than the Soundstage, but it does offer 7.1 instead of 5.1, if you want to go that direction. A friend of mine has a system with an Aragon Soundstage, Aragon 8008BB stereo amp and an Acurus A200X3 surround amp. He gets very nice sound from this setup.
Good Luck

I also own a pair of 2CEs as well as a VWq and a Vcc. My other components are an Aragon Soundstage and an Aragon 8008x3.

Before buying the amplifier my local dealer lent me several amps including a Bryston and a B&K. I spent several hours rotating the 3 amps and came away with a definitive liking of the Aragon. In fact, my decision was quite easy. The clarity of the Aragon sound over the other 2 amps was quite surprising. I never would have guessed I'd hear such a great difference.

Originally I had a Chiro C-800 as my pre/processor but have been overjoyed by the Soundstage. The 2-channel sound is stunning.

I'd be sure to go with the 2W vs. the 2wq sub if you like explosions and are using this for a HT only. My Adcom processor doesn't do a good job when it routes the sub signal back into the 2 front mains and I lose all the bass. It's not very satisfying for home theatre. I have a separate preamp so that my music sounds decent and the 2wqs have plenty of bass for music. I'm looking now into buying a cheap sub just for HT.