A little hard to give some advice w/o knowing what your budget and new/used feelings are. An easy comment is that you should go to component video cables from the cable source to the TV. The Vandys are very nice speakers and work well w/many kinds of electronics, but would benefit from a better source and amplification. Maybe something w/HT pass-thru if you want to combine both systems. You will find varying opinions about the Model 1s vs 2s, but I think that the 2s are a worthwhile step up. Give us more info, please, and you will get lots of ideas.
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Used is fine. Also, if you will, please be specific in advice, i.e., don't use abreviations. I don't know what most of them mean. Sorry I'm such a newbie (: As for price, I assume you are talking about more power?? At this point I don't want to spend more than 400.00 (new used). Thanks again. Oh and by the way, I do use "better cables" component cables. I always mix the 2 up! Components are the better ones, that's what I have. PS When you say better source, do you mean better receiver? I just bought the Pioneer, so it's here, but I could add to it correct? What is HT pass-thru? Mary
Interesting current set-up, as you have 3 sets of Acoustic Research speakers in use ... all from different design phases in the company ... that all differ in sound from each other. One of the goals in a HT set-up is matching the tonal character of the center channel speaker with the the tonal character of your front speakers. You want the sound from the 3 speakers to be seamless, or sound complementary, at the least. Most of the sound that you will hear from movies comes from the center channel speaker. Both the AR 4C (part of AR's Hi-Res series) and the Vandersteen IC use metal tweeters, so you may be OK here. There are also reviewers from magazines like "The Sensible Sound" who feel that you will be fine with most center channel speakers, as long as they are quality speakers ... and the AR 4C was always well reviewed.
As for which speakers to use in the rear, use the pair that is in the better shape. Given their ages (the AR 2AX must be at least 35 years old and the AR 14 are about 28 years old), I would think that the speakers require refoaming or reconing by now. Given that ambient sounds are directed to the rear speakers, tonal matching with the front speakers is nice, but not an absolute. Be careful with placement, ... those were both big, heavy speakers (25 X 13 X 13).
I am curious as to what amp/receiver you used previous to the Pioneer and what you liked about how it worked with the AR's. HT receivers are good with movies, but usually just OK with music ... music sounds a little warm and less defined. Before I would buy a separate amp though, I would hook it all up and see how your new set-up sounds ... if you are satisfied with the Pioneer/Vandersteen/AR set-up ... you can stop right there. If you are not satisfied, there might be things that you would do before you purchased a separate amp to power the front two speakers. I might consider purchasing a Vandersteen center channel speaker (VCC 1) or a separate CD player for music (I am assuming that you are using a combination CD/DVD player ... my apologies if I am wrong).
you may want to try running the vandies w/o a center channel. just tell your receiver that there is no center. i've been fiddling with this and actually like it alot, and you wouldn't have to worry about matching the center. this however, does lessen the sweet spot. but if there's only one or two people in front of the tv, it shouldn't be a problem. make sure to use the radio shack sound level meter to balance the levels of all your speakers.
The receiver I used before was a good Onkyo. (I don't remember model, but it was reviewed well and chosen by my then, long time ago, EE boyfriend, as were the ARs. I still have it in another room.) I've always liked the high end ARs (not that these were, but good enough.) I'm a singer (or was) and not technically savy - obviously, but I do remember hearing the really best ARs and feeling as if I were in the concert hall. That's what I like about the Vandies. The guy at the store felt I would like them and he was right. I've listened to totems, mirage and several others but liked the Vandies. Then after reading everything I could about them, I felt right about that choice, especially since store guy thought it would work w/ the rest of my stuff. Anyway, I'm glad to hear you think it will too. I chose the receiver after doing a lot of research also and someone here (Elitefan ??) said he thought Vandies would go well with the Pioneer VSX-53tx. But then after going to see about speakers, I started to get the impression that my NEW 100W receiver wouldn't cut it! (At least w/ the Vandy 2CE.) I can get the 2CE used or the 1C new. So I thought I might as well get the 2C if I don't have to spend too much to add power (is it an amplifier I'd need if I did??? Tube or solid state??) This is all greek to me but I can learn if I have to! I figure that some time in the future I'll get a new Vandy center channel.) As for wires, I'm getting the impression that I should bi-wire the speakers when I get them? Is that right? And the wires for the speakers would be single banana endings? Re the DVD player, Pioneer DVR, I had assumed it would also play CDs I'll have to check. I've got it hooked up the best way I can but haven't tried to play a CD yet. All thought are welcome and thanks to those who've already answered. Mary
Actually the AR 2AX were pretty near the top of the AR line back in the day. If you are interested in AR History , the highlighted web-site will fill give you a good background. I remember an AR product catalog from the early 70's and there were some performing halls which used series of AR 4's and AR 6's exclusively, which were below the AR2AX.
I would still advise to first hook all your equipment up and live with your system for awhile, before you take the plunge and purchase an additional amp (it will probably be a solid state amp, like a used NAD 370), for your front speakers. If you do decide to purchase an additional amp, hooking it up is straightforward enough ... you would hook up the front speakers to the power amp and connect the PRE OUT from your Pioneer Elite HT receiver to the INPUT on the amp.
As for speaker cables and interconnects, go with moderately priced cables from places like AV Cables or Signal Cables . Make sure that your terminate the speaker cables with the plugs that your equipment supports (it can be spade clips; banana plugs; or pins) ... ask your dealer. Bi-wiring can make a difference, ususally a subtle one, but it will also mean doubling your cable cost. Once again, I would go with single wiring and then see if you wish to bi-wire.
100 watts is more than enough for the 2ce's in most rooms, especially if you have a sub. vandersteens sound best when biwired. if you're talking about the 2ce sigs, they require spades (small ones). i'm sure the sales guy can help you out with your wires. i think i heard of a dvd player that didn't play cd's, but 99.9% of them including the pioneer play cd's.