In my experience with Vandys being an instrumental music freak I felt that these speakers do not provide the studio dynamics and somehow still sound when the have to stop and contrary start to sound a-bit later than they should no-matter what power you try to through to them. In my understanding every speaker benefits from power and McCormack can give it just enough for any home speaker if neccessary. Depending on the music you're listening to you should explore the speaker you will like the most.
I'd look for rock and jazz for Medowlark Kestrel or Totem Hawk in your price range.
I ran a McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe with Klipsch Fortes for a few years, and the sound was incredible. I foolishly "upgraded" to a Rotel 5 channel amp for home theater, and have been kicking myself ever since.
The Forte has not been manufactured for about 8 years now, but these speakers are built to last, and you can obtain them used on ebay roughly half their original retail. Other Klipsch speakers that would love the McCormack are the Chorus and Cornwall... slightly larger, but some of the most listener-acclaimed speakers ever made.
I've owned both the Kestrel and Kestrel Hotrod. They are NOT in the same ball park with the Vandersteen 2CE Signature, I don't care what anybody says. At the price level of the Signature's, they're very few(if any) speakers as full range and as accurate transducers as these in the time aligned area of engineering at this price. The Kestrel's do not have the bottom end---how could they with a 6.5" woofer. They are also a 2-way and will not play as loud. The certainly don't have the transparency through the mids either.
At $2500, you are close to the Vandersteen 3A Signature on the used market. You want come close to these speakers at anywhere near the price. They have been called $8000 speakers in a plain wrapper. If you want ACCURATE reproduction, there you go.
My other recommendations would be NHT like the 3.3's at about $1800-$2000 used. It takes a hell of a speaker to be any more full range than a 3.3. They're flat down to about 20hz which is their stong siut---bass and it's accurate to boot.
You could look at the Arial model 7's, B&W 804's, Paradigm's 100 series, Green Mountain Audio, Theil, I mean they are so many. Go listen to a broad selection and find what suits you. The McCormack will be a wonderful match with anything. Used puts you in a lot of playing fields. New will rduced your selection substantially.
Speakers are such a personal thing, and there are so damn many designs, that it's damn near impossible to truly suggest one that YOU might like in you room. However, there is one truth to purchasing speakers - you will get much more for your money with a DIY design than you will with any retail speaker. Second - buying used saves you about 1/2.
The problem of course is that DIY designs are hard to audition. I suggest a visit to the Madisound board:
PTM makes a very good point if you are willing to go that route.
I used a pair of PSB Stratus Goldi's with a McCormack DNA-225 and thought they were SUPER for the money. They can be had for about $1200 used and well worth the money. If you upgrade later, they also make great HT speakers. To my ear, they best the Vandy 2's with the Mc. If you CAN go $2500, by all means try the Vandy 3A sigs. A real bargain used at that price point and great with Mc.
Check out the NorthCreek rhythms, they seem to be around your ballpark range and DO NOT have the Msrp markup or other non-sense. It seems that they are beyond superb, near SOTA.
PS: I do have the DNA 225, make sure that whatever speaker your choose has room to breathe. Mine had my Gershman Acoustics booming with low frequency. Maybe I can blame my weak rear wall or my lack of common sense due to space constraints.
I had a pair of Vandy's with a DNA-1, I foolishly thought the Kestral HR's might be better suited to my room based on the size. There was no comparison, the Vandy's blew away the Kestral's in the bottom end & sounded better overall. Fortunately I kept the Vandy's & sold the Kestral's.
I have since moved on to a pair of Von Schweikert VR4jr's & there is no comparison. I would suggest giving the VR4's a try, they can be had cheap on the used market & while they look as ugly as the Vandersteen I would bet they are a better speaker for Rock.
Magnepan 1.6. a friend has this combo and loves it.
I own Meadowlark and Vandersteen. No comparison. The VS "house" sound is much better to my ears. Fuller, richer, great sound stage in all dimensions.
Used to sell Klipsch. Great speaker for those with hearing impairment in high frequencies. If you are under the age of 65, don't buy 'em. &0 or above- they'll sound better than a flat speaker.
Sorry about the klipsch comment. I really did sell the forte's though. In any event, with that amp you can pick any speaker you like. The real question is "what speaker for 1- 2k" used. Vandy is a great choice.
Vandys are a great choice. Von Schweikerts are excellent, as well, but hard to imagine them at $2500 used, given they are only abut 6 months old and getting rave reviews. 3Asigs would set you back about $2300 but you would want more muscle. 2CE sigs and a 2WQ sub would be in your price range. Add a second sub later, when you get teh $. The only way to beat it would be with 3A sigs and a pair of 0.5A+. I know, I used to have them. Eventaully went tubes, but for SS, this is a great match, unless you are looking for an upfront sound.
Vandys are a great choice. Von Schweikerts are excellent, as well, but hard to imagine them at $2500 used, given they are only abut 6 months old and getting rave reviews. 3Asigs would set you back about $2500 but you would want more muscle. 2CE sigs and a 2WQ sub would be in your price range. Add a second sub later, when you get the $. The only way to beat it would be with 3A sigs and a pair of 0.5A+. I know, I used to have them. Eventually went tubes, but for SS, this is a great match, unless you are looking for an upfront sound.