Vandersteen 2Ce with Jolida 302B?

Stoppped into the local audio store last weekend and learned they are a Vandersteen dealer. I have been running Meadowlark Kestrel 2s with a Jolida 302B (tube swapped only)and have been relatively happy with this second system. But I heard the 2Ces for the first time, powered by a Rotel rig and was very impressed by the overall detail and presentation. I am considering home auditioning these in the system (OK with the dealer by the way, some won't let you take Vandys home apparently, Richard Vandersteen told me once that he didin't blame them).

Has anyone here had experience with this or similar amplifier powering these speakers? The literature claims a min of 40W, the Jolida claims 50W.
Well OK then. Allow me to answer this question directly. As I write I am listening to the dealer's floor pair of Vandy 2ce Signatures on overnight loan set up as above with a Jolida 100 CDP, Jolida 9A phono pre, Music Hall MM7. Just finished listening to Peter Murphy's "Deep," (CD) then The The's "Uncertain Smile" from Soul Mining (CD), then Grieg Piano Concerto 1 (vinyl), now Fugazi's 1988 self titled EP (Waiting Room etc)(vinyl).

The speakers are black grill cloth with cherry wood tops and bottoms. The dealer lists them as $1799 for the pair which seems the going price set by Vandersteen.

I had to borrow a biwire set from the dealer, Tara RSC Prime. I have them hooked up to the 4 Ohm taps on the 302B. The high and midrange settings are 0 dB on the rear of the speakers and they are about 8 ft apart and about 9 ft from where I am listening. They are toed in slightly but the inner sides are laser focused on my wall behind where I am listening. With the sound anchor stands I haven't even spiked them in and they are slightly tilted back from the angle imparted by the stance of the stands themselves. Haven't even begun to experiment with the different settings on the back.

Compared to the Kestrels while listening at a healthy volume (about 85-90 dB peaks) the sound is very non- fatiguing, extended and detailed. There is so much music I was missing before it is almost scary. The bass needs no subwoofer, it is so clear and low at times I get this impression that I am listening to my Krell, Thiel system. Vocals take on a clarity of speech and annunciation that is remarkable, for instance when Ian Mackay says "give me the shot, give the pill" you can hear him spitting at the microphone. And the guitar picking sounds very much like when I play my telecaster into a tube amp, full of air and chime. Whoever claimed that Vandy's are not dynamic needs to hear what I am hearing right now; I can feel the kick drum move air and the bass and guitars are felt as much as heard. These things really do disappear and I will hook them up to the Krell later in the main system just for fun. I am becoming a Vandersteen fan but then I'll bet many of you already know what I am just finding out for myself. I have listening to the 5as extensively in a friend's system and always felt they were superior to my CS6 Thiels, but having the 2Ces in this modest Jolisa 302 based system has me scratching my head and wondering where I went wrong in the past trying to achieve what I now hear. Part of the blame lies with a San francisco dealer who shall remain namless and thst would not let me home demo. But the dealer here in Eugene, OR had no problem. Piano floats in mid air and the attack is sweet and detailed and sound very natural, not at all strident but real. Now I have Jah Wobble's "Take Me to God" (CD) on the system and his bass is very dynamic and extended, not wooly at all as I have read elsewhere. All the instruments and the wooden percussion instruments have a nice tactile quality and texture that sound like wood. The attack of instruments is so naturally detailed. They do get out of the way. And the midrange and vocals. Wow!

Needless to say I am going to put the Meadowlarks up for sale.

You're all invited to come over and listen to this set up. Yeah the Vandy's are keepers. I though the Meadowlarks were great, but I am converted. There is no question that these speakers are fully compatible with tube equipment let alone entry level gear like Jolida. Bravo Richard!
Yep, I bought some Vandersteen 2ce sigs and sold the Kestral ll's . So much more music happening.
I have since sold the Vandersteens but there is a lot to be said for large drivers when done right. My current speakers retail for $1700 more than the 2ce's and are just a "little" bit better. 2ce's Got to be one of the best values in audio.
Let us know how they make out with the Krell!!!
Shoe, I'm quite interested in your $1700-more-than-Vandy to share their identity? So over thepat couple of hours, at the request of my wife (also into music listening and gear, I'm a lucky guy), I moved them into the other room and hooked them up to the 400cx with the Taras.

Now I'm depressed. The Vandy 2Ces are more satosfying than my CS6s in this setting. I think part of this has to do with the down sizing we made when we moved to this house in OR from CA in July. We simply don't have the vaulted ceiling and large living room where the Thiels used to shine. But even still, while listening to "Angelsea" from Cat Stevens' Catch Bull At Four on vinyl that I bought when I was in high school in the early 70s, there is more air and instrument definition with the 2Ces than the CS6s. So now I'm in a quandry and am wondering how I went "wrong" three years ago when I traded my Dynaudio 3.0s for the Thiels. I did "audition" the 3a signatures in San Francisco but the dealer wouldn't let me home audition and I just couldn't justify the costs without that ability to check them out in my system in my own space, afterall it is one the seven commandments of Agon is it not to do this before one purchases?

So now I'm thinking, sell the Thiels and the sub (SS2 with passive crossover) and get a pair of 3a sigs for the main room. All this to adjust to a new house. Maybe it's time for a new thread about what choices/adjustments people had to make when they moved to a new location. So, I'm happy and I'm a bit frustrated because these 2ces sound so damn good (they're back in the small room system now (playing Saint Saens piano concerto on CD just beautifully)

Sigh. But all in all happy that sooner or later I was bound to explore and find something better, I just wasn't preapred for the extent of it today. Perhaps all will seem different tomorrow. But Vandy's offer much value for the money, that's for darn sure.
Hi Stevecham
I was fortunate to pick up a pair of Revel Performa F 30's local. ( Had to drive 70 miles ) The pair were actually a review pair from an online audio magazine that had been sitting in his home collecting dust for awhile. He had replaced them with Revel Salons.
Had my heart set on some Vandersteen 3A sigs untill these came up.
I haven't kept up with Vandersteens for awhile and thought I had heard somewhere that Vandersteen had improved on the 2ce that true?
What I want to know and I bet you too..are the 3A sigs much better that the 2ce sigs? Almost the same driver complement and same build only a different tweeter and the size of the bass cabinet is larger. Had a chance to listen to the 3A sigs but not for a long extended time.
By the way a good piano recording sounds extraordinary on a set of Vandersteens!
According to Vandersteen website the suggested retail for 2ce sigs are $1549 maybe the website has not been updated?
Also I couldn't find any "updates" to the 2ce sigs.
By the way I lived in Eugene Or. for a year..beautiful city! Do you like rain???? Plenty of that. Trees, Spencers Butte, Skinners Butte and plenty of nice folks everywhere, nice College town with very cool activities all year round.
Sometimes I wish I'd stayed up there , I am now about 1 and a half hours east of S.F. not far from where you were. Urban sprawl..blaa!
Hi Steve,
Thanks for the posts. Just what I was looking for! I have a pair of the 2Ce sigs on the way and have been wondering how they would perform with the tube integrated. Mines a Ming Da KT88 design @50wpc. You make me feel better :)
BTW, I haven't heard anything about upgrades for the sigs and I've been doing a lot of research lately.
Thanks again for the nice writeup ;)
Shoe: Eugene is a wonderful city and for me it is a return. I did my posdoc here at U of O back in the early 90s. I left in 97, went to Montreal for a couple of years and then to the Bay Area only to return with an excellent job offer here. Yeah the rain and fog this time of year, but I grew up in Boston so I actually like the coudy days when I get to justify being indoors and listen to music.

Piano sounds like "buttah" on the Vandys, a great thing!

Dragon: You will have no problem with the 50W KT88 amp you have. You are in for a real treat. PLease write to this thread and tell us your experience once you get set up and running. The 2Ce Sig has to one of the very best speaker values in audio.

I also know gthat while the driver complement is the same between the 2Ce Sig and the 3a Sig, the crossover is improved in the 3, with advertised improvement in the mids, and the tweeter is the same one as used in the 5a.

At some point I just may sell my CS6 Thiels and go with 3a Sigs or the new model Richard has released recently. I really dig these Vandys.
Hi everyone, here are some answers to your questions:
* 2Ce Signatures base price is on the web site as noted above. Add for the stands and any optional wood finish to get to the dealers price.
* The 3A Signatures sound more extended at the frequency extremes and more polished/refined than the 2s. The mid and tweeter are the same as the Model 5...not the 5A.
* 3As may be a good option for you if you have a mid to large room and 100W/P/C of power.

Sorry to hear about your home demo experiences in SF. To be honest, I've found it rare for dealers to allow home auditions of speakers. Equipment, yes...speakers not as often.

Regarding your experiences with Meadowlark and Thiel that was very interesting reading. I haven't made as recent a comparison as you. However, I had the same conclusions. The Thiels, etc. are good speakers, but the current Vandersteens are simply sublime. Which reminds me. Richard doesn't mention running changes that may occur in "normal" production. So while the 2Ce Signatures have been out for some time they do sound better the newer they are. This is true for all his speakers. I've had first hand experience with this and it's continually amazing to hear improvements made over the course of only a few months. ;-)

Happy Holidays!
The great thing about the 2CE's is that they scale very well with whatever equipment you pair them with. I've heard them powered by everything from NAD integrateds to ARC's Reference line, and they do not disappoint in either setting. Truly one of the few affordable speakers that you can live with forever.
The 3A Signatures also have a midrange driver with the back magnet set up like a soda can.
This produces a midrange that reveals more low level detail than the 2Ce Signatures, because the back wave from the speaker cone is not directly reflecting off a large flat magnet.