To Vandersteen or not to Vandersteen

So. I'm thinking of floorstanders and though I've never heard Vandersteen's in the flesh, they seem to be calling me if I do decide to make the switch from my Reference 3A de Capo's.

Anyone want to sound off on Vans? The Sig 3A? The 2? Any recommendations?

Thank you. And please - no admonishments about buying speakers unheard. Both the Reference 3A's and the Triangles before I bought unheard and were delighted with both. I trust reviews and word-of-mouth.
I had the 2 Sigs and now have Thiel 2.4s which are much more dynamic and present with a much more stable image. Good for you for choosing time and phase coherent designs!
find them cheap preferably Sig 3A's so you can play them and sell them if you don't like them. they like power and they like medium to large listening room. the best sweet spot distance is around 10' and same applies to apart.
to me the definition and resolution is perfect while bass is somewhat slow. they're best for large symphony orchestras. great with 60wpc+ tube amp or 100wpc+ solid state amp. In my past experience at Audioconnection of Verona NJ John Rutan was demoing them with Quicksilver M60, Rogue Magnum 88, Bryston 3b-st or Ayre(can't recall model). Please tell which amp you're going to use
Room size will determine which Vandy to get 3A Sig or 2Ce Sig.
The Vandersteen sound is rich, full-bodied, lush. All models in the line have the same somewhat dark and very lush fullness. all in the line play well at low volume. All are full range (even the 1c's). If you have bright electronics, the Steens will be great. If you have somewhat laid back electronics, the Steens can be somewhat dark sounding and, to some, too dark. But, if you like a smooth, rich, lush and laid back sound... you will love the Steens. If, on the other hand, great dynamic PRAT is your cup of tea --- well the Steens are not weak in this area (they are weak in no area) --- but PRAT is not a strength. If micro detail is desired... here too --- not a weakness but not a strength.

I love my Vandersteens. They do everything well and nothing great --- so some find the Steens "less than exciting" in a short listening session. But they are great to live with because they do everything well, never fatigue and never get in the way. They are a great value too.
As much fantastic press and reviews these get, I've heard 2Ce, Treo, and two different Model 7, and did not like any of them. No admonishment, just sayin'. Good luck!
What about them did you not like?
Vandersteen has never been my cuppa either. I like something with more jump factor and the feeling of live musicians in the room. Their top of the line might do it (although the original Model 5 didn't overly impress when it first came out) but I have never heard the 2 or 3 sound more than average.

I owned the IICE signatures for a few years and loved the sound. Got sick of looking at them, though.
Granted, not the best of conditions at dealer showrooms and audio show, but IMO: 2Ce seemed nice enough for small jazz combo and girl with guitar, but not more dynamic jazz or rock - did not seem to be able to properly handle/sort out the music; Treo and 7 had ill-defined bass. Top ends sounded fine, but not very good bass control: too fuzzy/wooly. The 7 mids and top end though seemed very promising, very sophisticated. Regardless, overall not my cup of tea.
I've owned deCapos, effectively lived with the Vandy 2 in a girlfriend's home many (many!) years ago, and have heard the Vandy 3 pretty extensively.

In some respects, the Vandy 2/3 family is very different from the deCapo. Even putting aside the Vandy's extra octave + of bottom end, the deCapo is voiced quite differently than the Vandy. I personally find that both sit well within the range of neutral, but thought that the deCapo sounded slightly overdamped while both the Vandys sounded slightly underdamped. It's anyone's guess whether the change will appeal to you.

Good Luck.


BTW, the Quattro and 5 sound very different to me and - bass extension aside - much closer to the de Capo sound.
I had the 3A's for 18 years before recently upgrading them to the Sig version. I do not recommend the non Sigs. They are pleasant but slow/dull sounding. The Sigs have been described as a music lovers speaker and I agree. They can bring you to the venue, meaning they convey the atmosphere and ambience of live recordings and are very good at that. They do not believably recreate the band in my room. The presentation is a little distant for that. I guess that means they are laid back. A great speaker if mid hall is your cup of tea.

The latest version of the Vandersteen 2 and 3's sound fantastic. A very complete sound , top to bottom.

Will you be buying new?
These are so readily available for audition, that unless your circumstances are very unique, you would be remiss not to audition them. With that said, I'm a big fan, and though some here disagree with me, I'm absolutely convinced that all but the higher end models are very room sensitive.
I never liked any Vandersteen's. I always come away feeling like I drank a warm cup of water on a hot day when I listen to Vandersteen speakers. They try so hard to not offend that everything they do is so totally mediocre.
Heard the Vandy 3A Sig at a dealer and thought they sounded fantastic, but the treble was a little softer relative to most other speakers I've heard so that may be a consideration. Could be good or bad depending on your tastes/equipment. Because of this I would not purchase them before hearing them in person. Best of luck.
I have owned both the 3's and the 2's. I liked the 2's much better,I could never get the 3's to sound right in my listening room! Placement is very critical with Vandy's! If possible see if the dealer will lend you a pair for a home trial!
Have heard the 2 and 3 many times and they lack the resolution and jump factor(previously stated)needed to duplicate live music or the nuances of a great recording. IMO the smaller Vandy's play it to safe. Give me the aggravation of synergy with the Thiel 2.3/4-ATC 40 or a Magnepan 1.7 where affordable near SOTA sound is possible!
You all have been quite helpful. Thanks for the feedback. And as a former Maggie 3.6R owner, I'm always seduced by the big planars; maybe one day I'll go back to them.
I think it would be a bit of a sideways step with the Decapo being a bit more neutral and the Vandy having a bit more low bass
Why not look into a good sub or pair of subs?
I'm running an LSA Statement integrated. I have a very small listening room and I'll be buying used.
3A's definitely need room to breathe. I'd go for 1c. 2's IMHO are the least favorable among Vandys.
^:-) Interesting, as I think the 2's are by far the best value in the line, and perhaps in all of high end audio!
The 1's just don't do it for me compared to the competition, and the 3's just don't justify the their cost increase over their smaller brethren 2's. IMHO, YMMV, etc..
"I never liked any Vandersteen's. I always come away feeling like I drank a warm cup of water on a hot day when I listen to Vandersteen speakers. They try so hard to not offend that everything they do is so totally mediocre."

My sentiments exactly!

I had the original 2C way back in the mid-1980's and listened to them for many years. Don't think I could live with them now, although in fairness, I've never heard the newest models and there have been many upgrades since then! As others have stated, they don't offend but may not excite, either.
They needed a lot of breathing room to the rear and sides and very careful placement, IIRC. When we finally added on a room and I got the chance a few years ago to take the rig out of mothballs, my wife nixed them. They are, shall we say, aesthetically challenged and not the greatest in a smaller room unless all you use it for is listening, because, again, they need to be pretty far out from the wall and can be pretty imposing looking.
BTW, I have De Capo's now! :-)
2ce seemed to me pedestrians compared to 1c in terms of speed nearly with any amp driven. More than decade ago I was spending quite a time to build up my decision on speakers with John Rutan at Audioconnection. Ever since I haven't found any better dealer than him!
de capo's would do much better job for small rooms since 1c i've realized isn't upgrade to them.
best value in high definition audio is always different from mind to mind don't get me wrong
^Your criticism is not without merit, and there are others to boot. Perhaps that's why I chose Thiels. But, still it wasn't an easy decision and dollar for dollar I still stand by my earlier declaration. Once again, YMMV.:-)
if I were in your shoes I would try to hear some of the GoldenEar products - per the recent raves in the mags...

Vandersteen has never been my cuppa either. I like something with more jump factor and the feeling of live musicians in the room. Their top of the line might do it (although the original Model 5 didn't overly impress when it first came out) but I have never heard the 2 or 3 sound more than average.

Funny I always felt the same way after hearing the model 5's at a dealer for many years. About a year ago I purchased a pair of 5's that needed some work. So I finally got around to finishing that task. Plopped then in my system and I was astonished how they sounded. The jump factor and the feeling of live musicians in the room was better than most speakers I had heard in my system or others. I was very taken back by what I was hearing and granted I did not set them up properly yet as instructed by the manual. Go figure, I have to change my opinion on them now. BTW, I build my own preamp and I think that what I am hearing is because of my preamp and how it mates with the Vandersteen 5's. I never heard a speaker with such a black background, detail, clarity and musicality like what I am hearing now. Anyone what to sell me some Vandersteen 5 carbons cheap?

So the point is that your speakers need to match your components to sound their best.

Happy Listening.

Simao....I strongly recommend you talk to Audio Connection in New Jersey. They are a Vandersteen and Maggie dealer. John who owns the place will give you lots of good advice. I have Vandersteen 5A's and are very happy with them.
I have the 3ASigs and I love the way they sound. The thing with Vandersteens is that you have to really take the time to set them up properly to get all of what they have to offer and they have a lot. It took much trial and error but the pay off is tremendous. I also would second the recommendation of contacting John Rutan @ Audio Connection in Verona NJ. John really knows the speakers and is more than happy to make sure you're getting the best results.I also own Maggie 1.6 and have gotten the most out of them as well and I must give credit to John for helping me. Happy Camper? Yes I am!
Forgot to mention when I disliked 2's with any setup, John set up 1c with pair of 2wq. That combo stays between 3's and 2's budgetwise, but reaches the performance qualities of 3A's at ease. I think 2wq with decapos may have a potential of similar magic.
I owned 3A Sigs for a couple of years, spent a lot of time fine-tuning their set-up, and got them to sound really nice. While not the final word in resolution or dynamics, they are remarkably organized, coherent and convincing, and deliver plenty of detail if properly set up. Almost every little parameter affects their sound, like how much you tighten the Sound Anchor bolts, as crazy as that seems, so you have to be willing to work them, as Tonyjack said.

At around $2K used for a thoroughly realized design that's time-aligned and almost-full-range with purpose-built, matched drivers and almost no cabinet-resonance issues, you really can't go wrong.

if you have the space, I would consider the 3A. Very fine speaker that plays out a large soundstage. The current 2 series is nice also, bargain priced as well.

I would like to hear the 5/5A series someday for a comparison to the 3/3A series.
I also am asking this question again!!
I am still trying to move in a different direction and have 3 contenders Wish I could get them all together but that is not happening fundswise. The SDAs and Infinitys I do have together.

PolkSDA2Bs which I own and are upgraded Maybe moving on from these.

Vandy 2CEs This ties into the OPs question. Have had them before but had to sell them. I can get another pair localy but no home trial. More depth, tighter bass, tighter imaging then the SDAss but not as wide of a stage . Close but not quite. Almost to clear sometimes. Metal dome tweeter?? I respect them but am not sure the are for me

Infinity RSIII Very pretty Have them on loan but have to make a move soon Tighter bass then the SDAs A little more transparent and more depth out in front of the speakers. Voices are out front. Very wide and tall image Lifelike size. One thing is that when listening to these I do not miss the stage width of the SDAs like I did with the Vandersteens. Not as rich as the SDAs My wife commented on a Bonnie Raitt live track that it sounded slightly clinical Not the best recording

NEW DCM Timewindow 1A We carried smaller DCMS when i was in the biz but not this one How would this compare to the above offerings??

I have go by what i can afford (which is not much) and what is around locally fun fun fun