Vandersteen 2CE Signature II: Is it worth the price of $2700? Why are so many for sale?


I have seen several ads on both AG and Ebay for a "variety" of Vandersteen 2CE's  

Question: Is:the "latest version:"of the model worth its  $2700 price tag  considering the evolution of this design over the last 10 to 12 years

Vandersteen's website shares a few paragraphs about the upgrades made; but, has their really been notable or marked improvements in sound quality and overall performance?.

The amount of 2CE's for sale regardless of what version seems unusual,and even cautionary for buyers looking at a used pair ( taking into consideration age and condition)

Lastly, does this model compete with the performance of other speakers in its price range??

  Thank you, S.J.


 

sunnyjim
no
it competes technically with $5 k stuff for a lot of reasons
$ in the drivers not fancy veneer
way down the learning / improvement curce, economies of scale, frugal dutchman running the company...engineers engineer no part makes it way on the speaker if it does not earn its way aboard...
refined design, drivers and crossovers have all changed but not the basic design principles: time, phase accurate, minimum baffle, low resonance cabinet, hand tuning of speaker in anechoeic chamber
with hundreds of thousands sold of course there are speakers for sale used...duh
Factory / dealers just ran a $500 trade in on and C towards Treo or better, so yes older 2’s out on market for sure....
they are also perennial favorites on the Absolute Sound / Stereophile ratings....

company does not chase tail, most if not all the basic design principles in place 30 years because the underlying physics never changed....

go listen

i did

have 3 pair now....

dig the music..

no
it competes technically with $5 k stuff
Yep, if my budget goes to $5K you can be sure the 2Ce Sig II is on the short list. My pair might be one the OP is speaking of, tho'. I just moved to used Thiel CS2.4SE. Tom Thiel and Rob Gillum may soon have "hot rod" kits that will make these sing even better.
I have had the Vandersteen 2CE sig.. They are great, spacious, laid back, capable of bass you can actually feel.’s a very musical speaker, not for someone who likes details on the bright side. I sold mine just because I wanted something different, something more like studio monitor sound, and because they are quite large. I would buy them again. $2.7k, if that’s what they want today, they are still worth it - some of the drivers comve from overseas: Vifa and Seas are suppliers among others.
Speakers are very subjective. One has to LISTEN for oneself to make opinions about sound. Richard Vandersteen is an intelligent speaker designer, but a potential buyer must still have a LISTEN to his speakers before making judgements. Often times, when shopping for speakers, one could make a map of say audio dealers within 90 miles or so of their home to plan many trips to have a LISTEN to many speaker brands and types to see what floats one’s boat with regard to quality sound. Also what cedargrover said.
The Vandy 2's have been around since the '80's, with the CE Sig.II the current iteration.
That they have been selling for so long should give you a hint about their capabilities, as well as why there are so many for sale.
And, used 2ce Sig II's go for $1400, even 3a sigs go for less than $2,200.

B
Actually the model 2 started in the late 70's. The 2C was my first effort into serious audio in the mid 80's. I agree with all the positive comments. When I purchased my pair they were retailing for around 1.1k. The fact they are 2.7k 30 years later is remarkable considering what you get for the money. I preferred them at the time over Martin Logan CLS and Sequels, Magnepan 2.6, B&W 801s all well above the 2Cs price point at the time. Your taste and requirements may be different. These speakers should be listened to at a dealer or owner that has them set up properly, there are some excellent dealers that get this important point. I have heard a few demos that were dreadful. They work with a wide range of both tube and ss electronics but certainly they don't shy from some power.

Definitely worth a listen, do yourself a favor and don't worry about how many are for sale, over 100k pair sold . Some find them "boring", regardless they offer a hell of a lot of value in my experience.
+1 tubegroover and gdnrbob.  2ci's were MY first entry into "high end".  If you want sizzle, maybe not your cup of tea.  If you want steak, OTOH, give them a listen. 
I heard the Vandies after I got out of college in '79. They were so impressive that I still remembered them 40 years later, when I finally got back into hifi.
B

Short answer: because there are so many of them out there.

If you're seriously interested, talk to Johnny Rutan and get his highly informed advice on which version/iteration to get, and any tweaks he recommends.

If you're looking to buy a used pair of Model 2's I would look for  late production 2Ce Sigs.  Richard is consistently upgrading his speaker designs so try to acquire a pair with the latest upgrades.
@twoleftears 
@hifiman5 

+1's
Definitely give John Rutan a call or PM him here on audiogon his ID is: audioconnection.
B
you can geddem used for $500 so $2700 is too much.
I did only see one pair of 2Ce Sig. for sale right now so actually vast majority of the people who bought them are holding on to them. I paid $450 for a pair of 2Ci speakers in excellent condition that I bought locally a few months ago and it’s by far the best money I’ve spent, on anything, period. I would actually not hesitate to buy another newer model if I see one come up for sale locally. They are a bit chunky so they may not fit everyone’s space/decor requirements but I really enjoy their clean, fluid, and most importantly non-fatiguing sound. I’d love to hear the new models just to see how much better they are in comparison to my “vintage” 2Cis.

TO cedargrove> For the record, about 5 years ago, I listed to both a pair of Vandersteen  2Ce's and also a pair of 3a Sig.  The 3A's were much better sounding than 2Ce's which I thought sounded good but not good enough to buy at the time. The 3a's were too big and also outside my budget range. Last year, I happened to walk into a shop and the Vandy  5a were playing. I was amazed how good they sound compared to the models below them which sat beside them. I did not have the time to do a three speaker comparison, but my sonic memory said the 5a were in another league of both design and driver technology because they did so much right

The issue I gathered from even a few of the responses is that a 10 year old 2CE may be or  (is not) the equal of latest version from 1 year ago There is a pair on e-bay that look very clean and supposedly a year old but the price is $2000. That may seem like a bargain considering the current retail is $2700. But what other speakers new like the Magneplanar 1.7i for almost the same amount of money may be superior even though they have different design and work on entirely different sound propagation principles. Regarding a more conventional box speaker, the Revel Performa F-206 is repeatedly praised by reviewers in TAS and Stereophile. I briefly heard them and liked them a great deal, but not for $3500, their current retail price. I have rarely seen a used pair under $2600 and their size and weight makes shipping to the West Coast about $200

Another thing I gathered from some of the responses is the that the Vandersteen's 2CE whether a Signature or Sig II has a euphonic tonal character, that is either laid back, soft, warm ( though accurate) as opposed to an analytical sound, that is, bright, edgy, canned and unemotional and some would say just does not "sound like music" If my memory is correct the Vandy 5a's were able to strike an almost  perfect balance between these two interpretations of sound quality; the 3A Sigs got close, but ,(in my opinion and keeping in mind the time passed since I heard them), 2CE did NOT achieve that balance and generally sounded soft, and not very engaging. I don't want to try every ice cream stand  at the carnival to see which has the best and richest chocolate flavor.  This  is not the type of merry go round I want to get on in trying to find out which "version" of the 2Ce is the best of its class

S.J..

    

The 5a are quite formidable 
much better cabinet, crossover, subs and sub amp, 11 bands of analog EQ ( an innovation unmatched to this day to my knowledge by any other designer )
and they went for North of $15 K when finally phased out ( although still available as 5a Carbon at $35 K w filters...
not really a fair fight comparing them to 3a Sig .... imo

( yes I have owned both )

there are several West Coat dealers who carry Magnepan and Vandersteen: San Diego and Tacoma...

To tomic601. 

Actually, I thought there was a speaker in Vandersteen line that was about $7000, but was not  amplified or  had EQ control. Maybe, it was discontinued in favor of making the (big) jump  to the current 5a speaker

BTW, I am aware of those dealer in L.A. County, but the sales tax is a killer at almost 9% now, so I have to shop for used speakers on AG. New is not an option..

Years ago I owned the 2Ce and the 3A (preferred the 2Cs). I found Vandersteens very placement critical. My dealer suggested a Spendor floorstander and they did the trick for me. I have been a fan of Spendors ever since !
Ssunnyjim, if you happen to be in SoCal like LA or Orange County you can come over and listen to my Vandy. 2 CE Sig II as I have them for several years now. I have compared them the some of the $8,000 speakers and the 2CE Sig II still sounds the best for me. It seems like the longer I use them the better they sound but of course positioning the speakers helps a lot and the type of equipment you use with them makes a lot of difference. There are some recording that make it seems like you’re watching a live band but anyway, if you ask me, yes, it’s worth every penny.
I sold my Magnepan 1.7i`s to my son and bought a pair of Vandersteen 2CE  Signature MKII in 2016, My wife and I love much better than the maggies, they work better and sound way better in our room. you should go hear them. Music come to life with them. I now have them with 2WQ subs, a great combo!
Regarding the positioning, I personally don’t find them any more (or less) location sensitive as compared to most other speakers I’ve owned or currently own in other rooms/systems. Just like any other speaker, you need to put them a couple of feet away from the side walls and a foot or two from the back wall. Perhaps one exception is they sound better with no toe in and parallel with the back wall.
As for the $2700 price tag for a new pair, there are a lot of (other) great speakers out there in the $3K price range so I would definitely take the time to audition as many as possible before I commit to one brand/model. Ultimately, you may decide these are the best bang for the buck, or you may not.
sunnyjim
yes the well regarded and reviewer lauded Treo CT
no powered sub and no EQ
nicer and more expensive cabinet than the 2 or 3 series
they also came in a version without the carbon tweeter

i have the CT version on order for our Carlsbad place, you are welcome to stop by for a listen
I got the Treo's after the 3a sigs. I do have a pair of the 2wq subs, so I am Quatro territory.
If space is an object, then a pair of Treo's will definitely fit better in a small room, like mine. You can always get subs as funds provide (though I heartily endorse the Vandy's).
B

Thank you to all who have responded so far. The information has been helpful in adding to my store of audio knowledge, especially about speakers

To tomic601.  I spoke to Vandersteen customer service to find out more about the difference between the 2Ce Signatures and Sig II. The 2Ce Signatures were issued approx 10 years. ago. The "Signature II" is the second version of the original Signature, and  was issued approx. 6 years ago. I was informed that every  upgrade in this series represents a significant improvement in sound quality. 

BTW, the rep told me that there was a Vandersteen 5 speaker that was under $10,000 (?) and sported amps for the low end drivers.  The current 5a is an  advance  in speaker technology and materials which includes the EQ circuitry and redesigned crossover. etc.

I will check out the Treo CT, but I think they are out of my price range of $3000 .  

S.J.

you are welcome sunnyjim

any 5 under ten $ k would be used and yes The Music Room in Colorado - a dealer here on Audiogon has a used pair of 5a for like $6k right now....model 5 would be less.
there was recently a pair of fabric original cloth  Quattro on Agon for $3,500 ... 
i know of a nice pair of 2 in oak/ black in Orange County, good dude moving to Magnepans...
message me if you want his contact info...
best to you in your search wherever it leads...
sunnyjim

what gear is currently in your system? I can strongly suggest to seek out a pair of Thiel CS 2.4 loudspeakers. This model will capture the best attributes between Vandy/Maggie speakers.
Happy Listening!
I have a pair of McIntosh MC601 monoblocks 600 Watts each that’s driving my 2 CE Sig II with McIntosh C2300 Tube preamp. These speakers can take lots of power and sounds excellent playing at high level volume. Clear, clean, great sound stage, great bottom end, and good transperancy.
My only beef with Vandys like the 2 (I had a pair of 1Bs years ago…they sounded great), is you can't take the cover off and look at things…well you "can," but maybe you shouldn't.
I have the latest version Vandersteen sig 2 paired with the Belles Aria Integrated and find the combination a match made in heaven. 
  A couple years ago I found a used pair of the original Vandy 2s on Craigslist in remarkable condition and pulled the trigger ($300) I was amazed just how good they sounded for their age, so I decided to purchase the latest version and I'm glad I did. 
  If you are at all curious, I say find a used pair and dive into the world of Richard Vandersteen. Just have fun and enjoy the music!
Yes you can look under the cover by getting in the dark and by placing a couple flashlight against the cover from different planes... You will be able to see inside.
@wolf_garcia ,
You can remove the fabric with a little muscle and a small pry bar. There are videos on You Tube showing exactly how.
As the 1,2 and 3's are made to be minimal in appearance, you'll see the drivers, but also the wooden dowels holding the end cap pieces.
I can strongly suggest to seek out a pair of Thiel CS 2.4 loudspeakers
Yes, this is what I moved to after the 2Ce Sig IIs (I had the original with the plastic midrange diaphragm, current production uses the "tri-woven"). Anyone buying used I strongly recommend the CS2.4 over the Sig IIs (altho' make sure your amp is comfy with a 4 Ohm load!). The Vandies are fantastic as I wrote earlier but the CS2.4 has more bass definition (2Ce does go a bit lower, tho'). My SE version also has more resolution and greater transparency. You can get used CS2.4s in good condition for about $2k, sometimes less. Rob Gillum has the upgrade kits to convert to SE equivalency. Tom Thiel will have an even better upgrade path for the XO later this year. I suspect you'll have to move up to something like the 5 Carbon or Vivid B1 to top a tricked-out CS2.4.

But if you're committed to new, it's *really* hard to beat the Sig II.
Mission Impossible.
Sunny, I sold my Treo's to Bob and I LOVED them.  I now own the Quatro's and I listen to everyone's 35k or down speakers and still went with Quatro's.  Coherency, tonality, extension top and bottom, yet warm enough and smooth.  Tons of micro and macro detail give you teh emotion that most speakers are missing.  

As Tomic stated above, they use very expensive components and don't worry about the cabinet in the 2 and 3's.  If you set them up properly they crush most of the competition that can cost twice the price of each.  Not everyone gets them as they don't smear and are time and phase correct as folks have said.  They are as true a point source in a conventional speaker as you will probably hear.  Feel free to PM any Vandersteen owner on here as we will probably tell you teh same things. Older ones are usually sold as folks move up, like I did.  

Since the 2's are the best selling high end speaker of all time and have been on the market since 78 I believe, there will be many for sale.  Most are in great shape if taken care of, but if someone can afford the 2700, the newest ones are SOOOOOOOO much better as they have trickle down drivers and components from the original Treo's ;)....Yes, they are that good to most ears.  JMHO

Thank you again to all who have responded.  This thread has provided me with a store house of info on Vandersteen 2CE Signature II. I am curious if anyone knows how much better the 2CE Signatures II are than the original 2CE Sigs


To Jafant   The electronics are still the Conrad Johnson 14L SE; pre-amp; Balanced Audio Technology VK200 (100RMS) and the Ayre CX7e mp2   CD player.  I did change out the speaker cables about 2 months ago from Harmonic Technology Ref 11 to the Grover Huffman EX cable.

The GH cable which I have owned for about 2 years amazed me with  its silent background, excellent dynamics, and deeper bass than the HT cable.. It does have a bit of sizzle at the top end which I can live with. I never got the new GH cable, but had the EX version re-terminated

I too, have a pair of Vandersteen Treo CT's. I was playing a rendition of "Sweet Emotion" by Leo Kottke. My Son-in-Law walked into my listening room and exclaimed, "Where's that electric guitar and drummer!?" He couldn't get over how realistic the sound was in my man cave....lol
@sunnyjim 

That may seem like a bargain considering the current retail is $2700. But what other speakers new like the Magneplanar 1.7i for almost the same amount of money may be superior even though they have different design and work on entirely different sound propagation principles. Regarding a more conventional box speaker, the Revel Performa F-206 is repeatedly praised by reviewers in TAS and Stereophile. I briefly heard them and liked them a great deal, but not for $3500, their current retail price. I have rarely seen a used pair under $2600 and their size and weight makes shipping to the West Coast about $200

I much preferred the current iteration of the Vandy 1Cis to both the Maggie 1.7is and Revel 206s. The Maggies and Revels had quicker bass, but the advantages ended there. I can't help but imagine the 2CE Sig IIs would absolutely wipe the floor with them. I thought the Maggies were a great value until I encountered the 1Cis. 

If anything, $2700 is a bargain.
I currently have my Signature IIs up for sale pending audition of some high quality stand mounted speakers (Usher Tiny Dancers). I've been having some trouble getting the imaging I know is possible from the Vandersteens in the odd room in which my stereo lives. They are laid back in a way, but these are my third pair of Model Twos over the years and I'm not confident that I can find anything as musical as they are in my price range...
No, it is not worth $2700.00.  I just don't believe in passive radiators.
 If your going to put a woofer in the back at least put a real one in. I also never cared for the Vandersteen sound in my opinion. I would like into other speakers.
I’m obsessed with and searching for used Quatro CT’s or 5 as
I’m obsessed with and searching for used Quatro CT’s or 5 a’s
I actually considered taking the covers off my 1Bs but instead sent them to Vandy for re-covering after they were abused by cats…a cat trampoline is part of the deal. Got them back and sold them immediately as I couldn't take it…I had done the flashlight thing of course, and with the Sound Anchor stands they were a superb speaker.
Very nice! sunnyjim
Post removed 
Exron, the rear woofer in the 2s and 3s is very much active.
I have the 2ce Sig II. I had done what I offered as advice to the OP when I purchased the Vandersteen. I picked out audio shops within a 90 mile radius of my home and went listening to all brands. KEF, Klipsch, Totem, Magnepan, Paradigm, and at least 6 other brands that I cannot remember. The Maggie 1.7 and 2ce Sig II stood out. Both were very musical, engaging and great for my musical taste and equipment. I like Jazz, Blues and acoustical music. The Vandersteen edged out the Maggies by a short margin. Nothing can replace actuall listening sessions, particularly with equipment close to what you own and your chosen music. Room acoustics play a large part. 
How do you know the age/series of the speaker. I bought a used set that say 2Ce and has his signature on the terminal plate. Is that what they mean by signature?
quick call to factory with serial # will give you approximate age
Richard answers the phone
There is also a section on website called “ ask Richard “ sort of a streaming FAQ, many questions answered there....

Vande are a great way to go.  Just don't overpay.  Also, stay away, far away from the 2ci's not in the same league sound dead just muffled highs so warm they are hot!  Bought a pair mint w factory stands locally for $400 unloaded them to a h/t guy who had 1c's after one month.  Early 2ce's are fine.