Vandersteen 2ce vs. Meadowlark Kestrel

I have narrowed down my speaker choices to these two model as a start in quality speakers. I want a speaker with the 1st order crossover and time coherent design. I live in an apartement right now so which speaker would be a better choice with the following factors considered: 1) can be incorporated into a smaller room apartment sized (difficult setup is a big factor) 2) biggest soundstage, dynamics, imaging and the ability to dissapperar behind the sound 3) which one will be better suited to build a future home theater around (important for my decision!) 4) running with solid state amps 5) will be adding a sub either vandersteen or rel 6) listen to most current music and movie soundtracks (jimmy buffet to van halen suit my taste) Compare the two and opinions if there happens to be another speaker brand that might be ok. The only other model I have thought about even though it is not of the same design is the PSB stratus bronze Thanks, Dillon
Dear Dillion, Both speakers you are interested in are outstanding values, excellent designs, and above all else great speakers. Meadowlark's are great preformers and if you chose them you wouldn't be disappointed. The Vandersteen's are equally great preformers with a neutral character (i.e., they don't lie about the quality of your recording material). So, if you choose these speakers be prepared to hear the truth. Another factor to consider when choosing the Vandersteen's over the Meadolark's is that because the way the Vandy's are built, replacing damaged grill cloths, or changing the color of the wood end caps is easy for Vandersteen to do and it is really inexpensive. Finally, one more piece of, hopefully useful advice, when deciding what company to buy from, take into consideration after everything else (i.e., design, reputation, and sound of product), customer service. Ask yourself, how difficult will it be for me to get my product, or in your case speakers serviced? If it is difficult to call up that manufacture and speak to the owner, technican, or someone who can really help you then that might be a good indication that this may not be the right company to buy from. I hope this helps.
I've heard and have owned both. Remember that the vandersteens are a bit more difficult to drive. That being said there is really no comparison. The vandersteen is far and away the better speaker albeit a little more difficult to set up.
Agree. Vandys are excellent and they get even better with better electronics. They tend to be more on the classical side and excellent on jazz vocals, but not big on "boogie" factor. If you have a problem and you call Vandersteen's operation, it will be Richard, the designer, or his wife who will answer the phone and help you out. They back their goods!
To set forth my biases at the beginning, I think Vandersteen speakers are one of the truly great buys in high-end audio. My first set of Vandies were Vandy 1B's, followed by the 2Ci's, and I now own the 3A Signatures. All of the Vandersteen speakers feature excellent design and build quality, fine internal components, and great musicality. Richard Vandersteen started building his speakers in the mid-1970's while he was still making a living as a truck driver, and he has not lost his focus on providing high quality for reasonable price. His company also provides stellar service. All that said, what should you buy? You did not state if your budget (and choices) were based on buying new or used gear. If you were planning to spend in the $1500 range, but are willing to consider used gear, then you can not only consider the Vandersteen 2Ce's, but also the Vandy 3A's. For example, there is currently a set of Vandy 3A's on sale on Audiogon for $1800. The 3A's are a major improvement over the 2Ce's, although they clearly are from the same "family". You could also consider some of the lower-priced Martin-Logan speakers. If you decided to stretch a bit and buy the Vandy 3A's, you will definitely NOT need a subwoofer in your apartment. The downside to the 3A's is size - they are about 4" taller than the 2Ce's, although the width and depth are identical. The main think the 3A's offer over the 2Ce's is better tonal integration from top to bottom, cleaner bass, and a more transparent mid-range. If you are willing to buy used gear, and can afford to spend $1800-1900, then I strongly urge you to consider the 3A's. If not, then you will still be very pleased with the 2Ce's.
I have a/b compared the two, and much preferred the vandersteen 2ceSignatures. The meadowlarks are smaller and shorter which would give them a higher WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). The 2's are great because you really can't make them sound bad. They work well with mid grade electronics too. I drove my old 2C's for years with a Denon 125watt receiver and I still think it's a pretty good sounding system. They are great for rock music with excellent power handling capabilility. If you are looking for greater detail and are willing to sacrifice bass, you should consider the magnepan 1.6's. Those are lightweight planar speakers. They are light enough that you could keep them on a wall and move them when you wanted to listen to music. The magnepans are a must listen in the 1500 range.