The Vandys are great except they're not that easy to drive. But I have read of folks driving them with various McCormack amps.
13 responses Add your response
Depends on your room. I run Vandersteen 2ce Sigs in my larger room with Classe Cd 1.5 and Classe CAP 151. The Classe powers them just fine. We wanted better speakers in the smaller room and realized that there was no way the larger Vandersteen's would work. Found the smaller Vandy 1c's on Audiogon and placed them in the smaller room with NAD (545 cd and 362 amp and a squeezebox. They were harder to place cos they can only be about 10 inches from the back wall. The bigger ones are able to have more space around them. Both sound great to us...
Have you considered something from the Klipsch Heritage series - many options, all of them much more inexpensive used than just about all of the above suggestions. I have the Cornwall's myself, but there are smaller sizes if you prefer or need that. And you can certainly drive horns with any amp out there.
Don't know the Alons, and Vandys might not be the easiest to place to get them to do their thing and may not be as airy sounding as some others out there. Should be a great match with the McCormack though.
Given your criteria the first thing that came to mind was Totem, but I'd also look at Audio Physics, Joseph Audio, Thiel (CS1.6 rather than 2 2), and Silverline. All have very good imaging and portrayal of air and space. Best of luck.
If you're looking in the $1000 price range I think you're going to have to make a trade-off somewhere given all your criteria. All these speakers make decent bass, but whether it's enough for you in your room is impossible to say. Best would be for you to go to some dealers and give them a listen if you have some within a reasonable distance.
Of the speakers mentioned I think the Gallo Reference 3 may give you the best shot at achieving all your goals (assuming they're in your price range), but I wasn't sure if the DNA 0.5 would be up to powering them so I didn't mention them in my post (I would think they'd at least do a decent job, but that's just a guess). Of course you can always add a separate bass amp later with these speakers if necessary, so this could be very attractive overall option (if you like the sound of course).
Of course if you really want deep bass you could consider adding a sub or two down the road to any of the above speakers. This could give you truly full range performance and has the added possiblity of customizing bass for your room with some bass management and subwoofer placement, and it opens up a lot more options for main speakers (even including monitors that can image like demons). This is actually what I'm planning to do because I've found that the foundation provided by high-quality deep bass can make everything significantly better and more enjoyable, and I don't have the dough or the space to make good full-range speakers work in my room.
Anyway, best of luck I'd be interested to know what you eventually choose.
If you have room for them, how about a pair of Cerwin-Vega CLS-215s? Check around and read the reviews, which include favorable write-ups from Absolute Sound and Soundstage.com. Designers were formerly of NHT and another audiophile spkr company. Mid and tweeter, although horn-loaded, are sourced from Scandinavian speaker companies.
About $1K/pair, measured sensitivity around 92dB, bass down to the mid-20s or lower in-room, dynamic range to (literally) beat the band, and yet the reviews indicated that they excel in microdynamics and low level detail, especially at the price and factoring in the frequency and dynamic ranges.
You want bass? Twin 15-inchers should do it. Fortunately, they cross over to the 6-1/2" midrange at a fairly low 250 Hz. That would function similarly to a minimonitor mated to a 2x15 sub, but with better integration.
Let me put in a plug for as much Meadowlark as you can find for the budget. I own the Kestrel HotRods - bought them here for $625 when I downsized to reallocate to my home theater rig.
Time-aligned drivers, first order crossovers, and transmission line bass make for lows that bely their size, a laid back attitude and a big sound stage. Very natural, very musical and probably warm to some ears.
Broad dispersion tweeters make placement simple but they do want to be a bit off the wall. Cabinets are very rigid and the crossovers are housed in their own "compartment" underneath the main enclosure.
The HotRod versions have upgraded binding posts, crossovers, insulation, Kimber wiring and other goodies depending on where in the pantheon they lived..
Finish is adequate to very good depending on the vintage.
Easy to drive - 89db according to the specs, maybe better when compared to other "89s" I've owned. Supposed to love tubes but they seem happy enough with my NuForce integrated.
So you know, Meadowlark started in California then moved to New York. A few years ago they went out of business - but you will find a ton of reviews online - they were a big favorite with reviewers.
Can't tell you how pleased I am.
I love my Vandersteen 2CE sigs. While it may take a little longer to set them up than some, I think its a small price to pay. It so happens that the guy I bought them from had them hooked up to a Van Alstine tube pre running into a Mccormack DNA-1. All I could say was "wow". I think you 0.5 will work fine with them.
All good suggestions and all but the CV are on my list. I have to rule out the CV because of WAF, which is a requirement I neglected to mention. I'm also considering Alons model I or IV or maybe used Ushers. I have a 100 watt per McCormack amp. Think it will drive any of these to satisfying volumes? Thanks