I got advice when I put together my first system. It was good advise. I had Allison speakers that I teamed with a Parasound used HCA-1500A for 400.00 or try a HCA-1000A for 300.00. I can't remember the pre but it would cost in the 150.00 range. For the money you can't beat Parasound! Used Parasound equip. in good shape is also going to hold it's value so when the upgrade bug hits (and it will hit)there is min. loss.
Parasound is a good recommendation. I would also look for a SimAudio Celeste W-4070SE or W-4125SE... or a Moon W-3 if you can spring for it. That is, if you are still in love with the Vandys (you don't mention if you have heard them, though). From the small experience I have of both, I would think that if you found Thiels on the dry and clinical side, the Vandersteens are indeed more up your street. The SimAudio amps would drive both.
If I were you, though, I would keep my expenses down now as much as I could, so as to be able to afford that preamp upgrade sooner. A good front end will make all the difference to your setup. In fact, is a quality solid-state integrated amp out of the question right now?
I had my 2ce sigs powered by a Rotel 980bx and it was not a great match. The rotels I have used all added some grain to the upper mids which was annoying when listening to classical. I switched to an Aragon and the improvement was not subtle. If you like alternative and classic rock, make sure you get a preamp with tone controls, you will need them!
My first suggestion for a beginner is to check the archives. Not knowing your budget, makes recommendations difficult. I'm a big fan of McCormack gear with Vandy's!
The Vandy 2ce's sigs are such a great speaker that you may find that you never need to upgrade them, just the electronics in front of them as budget allows.
Welcome! Yes you came to the right place. I'm sure there's numerous years of audio experience in this forum.
The Vandersteen's are excellent speakers and a very good buy. You may want to hold of on buying speakers however. If at all possible go listen to as many speakers in your price range if at all possible. Two speakers at the same price point will usually sound different. One may be as good as the other but personal tastes will dictate what you want to take home. Buy USED. You will save alot of money. Speakers last for decades. I'm presently listening to my vintage system which has 35 year old speakers.
The Rotel RB991 or Parasound HCA 1500A would be excellent choices. Be sure to use a decent preamp and source.
Most importantly enjoy your music. A system with Vandy's or another high end speaker is very pleasureable.
The most important thing to consider after speakers is room acoustics. I strongly recommending going and reading about room treatment and correction devices. Audiocircle.com has an Acoustics circle and Audio Asylum also has one. This will affect the sound ALOT!
Here's a good thing to remember. The most important tweak which is also free is speaker position/listener position. This can make a large difference in the balance of the sound.
Best wishes to you!
You might want to look at an Aragon 2002, 4004, or 8008 -- all are very well-made, powerful amps that would rock w/2ce's. But you know what else would sound excellent would be an NAD amp, receiver, or integrated amp (or a pre and amp). I have never heard an NAD that didn't sound awesome. Give them a listen before you drop the change on Rotel, which will likely not sound any better and maybe worse.
You will probably like the Vandersteens just fine. Don't skimp on the amp however.. The V's deserve a really refined and muscular amp with control IMHO.
Right now there is a McCormack 0.5 Rev B amp for sale for $850. It pairs VERY well with the 2ces. A great start on the high end road, although not the best speaker if you really want to rock out. Perfect for jazz, bluegrass, alt country, folk, etc; which is my taste. The 2cis were my first high end speaker and were able to show the benefits of upgrades upstream of them for 10 years. Easy upgrade path via 2wQ subwoofers or 2cesig mod. Very different from Thiel speakers which DEMAND very high quality and high current amplifiers. McCormack modded amps are well known for great support and high quality; the REv B can be upgraded also if you desire down the road.
You're getting some good advice here. I started with Vandersteen 2's before upgrading to 3a's a few years ago. McCormick and BEL amps are good matches for Vandersteens. they're both available at very reasonable prices used here on A'gon. They are clean, powerful, fast and add a nice "jump" factor.
If you like a bit more laid-back sound, have a listen to the Classe integrated amps, don't remember model # CAP151 or 150 or something like that. Nice match and solid gear, available pretty cheap too.
Agree with the comment on the room. Read up on room tuning, it's worth another $1-2k in sound value, for mere hundreds of dollars (or less if you DIY). I learned this one the hard way. Just cuz you bought expensive gear doesn't mean your system will sound good. I was humbled by a friend with an extremely modest system (vintage gear), but well-set up. It sounded much better than mine, at least before I got the room-tuning religion.
FWIW, I've always thought Thiels were sterile sounding unless powered by really high-end gear, and maybe even then too. So it sounds like your ears work fine. Trust them, and take all advice here with a large grain of salt. it's a natural tendency, but folks like to justify their own purchase decisions by recommending them to others. OTOH, it's useful to get vicarious experience from people who actually own the stuff in which you're interested.
For what you've described as your needs, the Vandies sound perfect. The Vandies are much more forgiving of front-end, but the signature editions also will give you good value; every time you upgrade, you'll hear it. Highly recommended! On the downside, you might miss a bit of bass extension, but there's always subwoofers down the road. Vandersteen makes good subs and they're a nice match (I'm listening to one right now).
Hope this helps!
if you can get out and audition B&W speakers and decide you like the sound, there are alot of models both new and used to choose from. their kevlar midrange is one of the great contributions to high-end audio. i had a pair of M801's and they were amazing; i often covet used pairs of M802's that go on sale. the problem is getting a good front end to complement their transparency. it might take some time to get the funds, but in the end you won't be sorry regarding the acoustic stuff you say you listen to.
I listened to 2ce with Rogue M120 magnum and they seemed to me life-free. In the Vandy line they're probably the worst.
The best ones are 3A's for the small price difference for used. They will be your very long term ones.
For amplification I'd recommend for both models and your budget Sunfire Symphonic Reference amp.
Thanks everyone for the great feedback. So glad to be a part of the community. Can anyone recommend any other speakers I should be auditioning in the 1-2k range?
Thiel takes yet another "hit" ...hehe....The Vander's , yeah i've heard em, 4 rs ago. They're allright. Abit fatigue there, too heavy for my taste after an hour session. . "oh that was 4 yrs ago, its a new speaker now"...yeah Ok, so my opinion is outdated.
My choice would be the Tyler Sig monitors , a MTM design. To get under 2K, you''ll have to wait for a used pair on the market.
The amp is your choice, but avoid Rotel and NAD. You're in the big league now, leave that kid stuff behind.
I auditioned a pair of 2ce's and absolutely did NOT like them at all for music other than acoustic or jazz. Classic rock, electric blues, Radiohead sounded weak IMO. I auditioned many speakers at $1K - $2K and struggled to find any which fulfilled my expectations for a broad range of music. They all sounded great for some styles, but poor for the others. Until I auditioned a pair of Von Schweikert VR-2's. IMO they were great for rock/electric, and though not as refined/airy for acoustic and jazz as the 2ce's, still very satisfying. Granted, I did not buy them, but only because I bumped up my budget to the next level of speakers where I found many more capable of playing all types of music. One mistake I did make was to purchase an integrated amp before my speakers. While I was satisfied with the quality of music it produced, the combination of my room size (large) and speaker insensitivity (87dB) eventually put me on a power upgrade path to satisfy my need for increased volume levels. I would put more emphasis on finding highly satisfying speakers and less on expensive electronics. Were I to do it all over again, I would select my speakers first, making sure they were at least 94dB efficient, then select an affordable power amp (like one from Parasound or Van Alstine) and an affordable preamp (like one from Mapletree or Transcendant). Then eventually tinker with different kinds of preamps and amps if the upgrade itch were to surface.
I mentioned the VR-2s, but used, of course. Such as:
Vandersteen 2Ce sigs are simply superb speakers technically and sonically and are, by far, the best speaker value out there in audioland.
While not perfect or free from flaws and not the last word in resolution, I think Stevecham nailed it! I've heard the Vandy 2's numerous times in numerous locations. They have sounded superb and dreadfull depending on room and set up. IMHO, these speakers absolutley need the right room and set up to work properly, otherwise they can be quite a dissapointment. On the other hand, while appreciative of quality up stream components they are not as demanding as some of their competitors.
I have owned a pair of 2c's for about 15 years driven by a pair of Counterpoint SA-12's I talking with Richard, as I recall, Richard used the SA-12 in the original speaker design. Steve McCormack at Music by the Sea set up my first system with 2c's and Sound Anchor stands filled with lead shot. Im sure his amps would work very well. I am now building a new system and will most likely go with the 5a's