I have had both and liked the 2CE's the best for the money.I was using them in a small room with a Audio Research Classic 60. 2CE's are hard to beat for the money.....
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I used the 2ce sig for about a year before moving up to the 3a Sig. In my room, the 3a performs at a considerably higher level. The highs are more transparent and pristine. The midrange is more open and spacious. Both speakers are cut from the same cloth, however, the 3a just makes that cloth clearer. It is a more refined and relaxed presentation. The 2ce is a good speaker and I enjoyed my time with them. The one area that really is a huge difference is the overall volume the 3a's can produce over the 2ce without strain. The 2ce would not produce deep bass at anything but a relative medium volume. No such problem with the 3a sig. It is a better speaker and worth the price difference.
For a reference, I currently use the following:
Theta Dreadnaught 4-ch (biamped)
Audible Illusions L-1
Meridian 508-24 CDP
Vandersteen 3A Signature
Pair of Vandersteen 2Wq's
Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables (biwire)
Acoustic Zen Silver Reference Interconnects
I own both 2C (surrounds)and model 3 (fronts) for my home theater. They are sonically similar, the 3s just do everything better. More effortless bass, a cleaner smoother midrange, more air and extension in the highs. The threes play louder without sounding distorted. Although I don't have the latest version of either I imagine the analogy is still the same.
The threes are more demanding of the amplifier and will not sound nearly up to their potential without a good amp.