Vandersteen 2ci: what a pleasant surprise

Like a lot of you out there, I've been buying and selling, trying different stuff here and there. I don't really spend a lot of money on gear,and I almost exclusively buy in the used market. I find a lot of benefits in buying used high end products (lower price being the first obvious reason, and the list goes on). My last "venture" was trying out a pair of Vandersteen 2ci's, they're not even the ce model. I've always wanted to try a pair of Vandys but never got the chance to. It's funny since I've been into this hobby for a good 15 years now, and having gone through a multitude of speakers (Martin Logan, Heybrook - when they were still good, Apogee, Linn, Mirage, Totem, Epos, - when they were still good, Mission, PSB, Magnapan, Sonus Faber, Meadowlark, B&W, Gallo, and probably a few more) I have never owned a pair of Vandys. So much for the intro. I finally bought a used pair here at Audiogon and much to my surprise upon setting them up, they are pretty good. It's one of those things that just gels together I guess. Everything in my system matches very well to the fullest potential of these Vandys (EAD T1000/DSP7000mk3 combo - SFL-1 Signature - Sonographe SA250 with DH labs and Audioquest cabling). I didn't think I would be this much impressed since they are the older model Vandy 2 and I remember listening to a pair of the 2ce's at my brother's house and really wasn't that impressed, but man, I don't know if my 2ci's are just flukes - they trully sing!!! It's a great feeling when you buy something at a great price, not expecting a lot from it then - BANG - it blows you away!! Any other similar experiences anyone care to share out there???
I think Vandersteen is probably one of the most underrated speakers out there. I have been using them for years in various incarnations. Vandersteen is usually describe as laid back or lacking sparkle in the highs. The 1st order crossover and phase correct design allows highs to develop normally and not be thrown at you the way many speakers do. This gives a smooth overall character.
The speakers are much more revealing than people think. One thing is setup. You can't put them next to a back or side wall and get their best. You have to make sure the tilt back is in line with your ear height. The user must listen to them in the window of best sound, otherwise, you miss the point.
A lot of people make judgements about speakers from a dealership showroom. That is probably the biggest mistake you can make. Dealers have motives and most don't set up correctly due to space, acoustics or just don't care.
The other thing is Vandersteen's are not expensive for what you get. Seems a lot of folks are judging by price tag which is a big mistake. Anytime you see a thread on "Best" speaker, you see the price tag spiral up. Price doesn't buy better much of the time! Louder yes, more drivers, yes, more cabinet, yes, but better? Maybe not.
No, they are not going to impress the boom and sizzle crowd or the loud(as in LOUD crowd) Vandersteen is about the music and that is their strongest point. They reproduce what's there and don't add all the little extras that so many audiophiles think is high end and actually in the source.
I'm glad to see someone else has been exposed. They do make music and as you move up the Vandersteen line, you get more resolution, better soundstaging and wider response windows.
They are for the people who enjoy music instead of equipment.
The differences between the various incarnations of the Vandy Model 2C's (2C, 2Ci, 2Ce) are attributable to Richard Vandersteen's continual refinement of this fine speaker. While the basic design has remained the same for a long time (going back, infact, to the original Model 2 built in the latter half of the 1970's), Richard has upgraded the cabinet construction and improved the quality of the drivers (the mid-range driver's construction is patented, and found in no other speaker) and the crossover. Hence, the differences between the Vandy 2C models represent incremental improvements. Having owned the 2C, 2Ci, and 2Ce, it's been gratifying to see how Vandersteen has continually raised the performance bar of this speaker while keeping the price increases very modest (I bought my 2Ci's in 1988 for $1200 (MSRP), and the price has only gone up marginally in the ensuing 15 years).

Since you are so pleased with the sound of the 2Ci's, you should someday audition the Model 3A Signatures, which offer outstanding performance and can often be purchased used here on Audiogon for under $2500.
I hear ya Gemini..This is what I enjoy most about the hobby. Finding gear that doesn't cost an arm an a leg but is musical and pleasing! I am not looking for an end to all sound(because no such thing exist at any price). That would make things pretty boring to me. My goal is to listen in my home to as many brands as I possibly can. It makes things more interesting and also tunes the ears to pick up on things normally missed when anchored to one type of speaker or component.

Enjoy the Trip .It is the Best Part!!
Bigtee nailed it. I've heard Vandy 2's in many incarnations in many diferent rooms, dealers included. Rooom and placement are paramount. Set up properly they may be the best bargain in all of audio. Set up improperly and they are sure to dissapoint. Mind you, I'm a Thiel owner. While my personal preferences has led me in another direction, I can't help but appreciate the intrinsinc value that the Vandy 2's offer.
I’m also a big fan of the 2ci. With my exposure to Audiogon the use gear market makes it possible to buy and try. The Vandy’s were my 1st purchase only a few years ago. Replaced a set of Magnepan 2b’s II. Much better all around performance especially in the bass area. Even got the desired light brown cloth finish to match my home decor. Much more rare to find then the standard black. To date speaker cables, preamp and DAC have been upgraded (Transparent Audio Ultras, ARC SP11 Mk2, and recent Electrocompaniet ECD 1 24/192 due to arrive next week). When my pocket book allows a set of 3A Signatures is on my list of thing to watch for. To reiterate, Vandersteen 2ci, a pleasant surprise in dead...
After being out of the audio loop for many years, last year I decided to get back into it. I had sold my old gear several years ago on ebay and really started from scratch all over again. After much reading about the latest speakers I started searching out for where I could audition what I was reading about. Since I travel on business often, it made it easier to find the right places to go. I started with time and phase aligned type speakers because that is where I left off many years ago. After a couple of months, I was pretty sold on Meadowlark until I found Vandersteen. The first and only set I heard were the 2CE Signatures. I heard your bang and immediately set out to listen to the 3A's. Never did hear them, I just decided to buy a pair of the 3A Sig's, on Audiogon of course, I figured I couldn't lose. Fortunately I was right, I am delighted with their performance and now enjoy the little tweaks like speaker placement and room acoustics to continually improve the overall presentation. The addition of 2 Vandersteen 2WQ subs came next and I've just recently purchased new cables and have noticed improvements with these. There is a lot of discussion about specific amps that the Vandersteens mate better with. I guess that will be my next quest. If you decide to go hear the 3A's, make sure you have the money saved. You will probably want to take that next step immediately. Have fun!
Thanks for the intersting replies....I've also tried the Thiel 1.5's and was quite impressed with them, with their espansive soundstage, pinpoint imaging and clarity. But with the amount of money I paid for these full rangs 2ci's, it's hard to beat. A lot of you say that the vandys are all about music and it's true...that's all you hear....when you are able to get the magic out of the vandys, or any sytems for that matter, you get to forget about what cables you're using, what electronics your running, etc, etc - what you're left with is just your soul and the music and you get lost.....ahhhh, what a hobby!!!...enjoy the ride, like one of you said :)
hi..i love my vandy 2ci's. however i just upgraded the rest of my equipment and everything seems to be thrown off. i now have audio research sp-10 preamp arc d-125 amp and my source is the shanling t-100 tube cd player. i don't have the original owners manual on the 2 ci's and they are on temporary cheap stands, 9 inches high until i can get the sound anchor stands for them. my listening room is 13' by 9.75, speakers are on the short wall. can anyone help me with how to place them? before the cheap stands i had them 4.5 ft from the back wall and 24 inches from the side walls. the highs were pronounced, the bass a bit lean, voices a tad voices are like velvet...but the rest seems off...seems to have lost the distinction of the highs and the bass is a bit too confused..can anyone help please??!! thanks in advance :)
Actually yeah iver recently had that experience.

After being forced to sell my last rig, i was left with a DBX preamp, Denon-Poa-2800, and get this, Radioshack Optimus speakers.

Those Radioshack speakers will probably blow your mind on how good they sound with a decent amp/pre.

Don't get me wrong, they are in NO WAY giant killers, and they are probably the worst speakers being used by an audiogoner, but they sound way to good for "Radioshack" speakers picked up for 10 bucks at a garage sale. Ive heared alot of Best-Buy speakers in the $300-$400 range that dont hold a candle to these.

They are pretty old-school though. All paper cones, 3 way, 12, 4, and a ribbon tweeter. Volume was calculated using the "Golden Box" formula. Alot of cheaper speakers seem to use some funky material for the cones and seldom have a 12in driver, let alone a ribbon tweeter. Seems like the cheaper speakers now focus more on compactness and edgy looks than basic good design.

As much as they impressed me though, i cant wait to get rid of em. :)
despite their age, they are still very good speakers. it sounds like you have have some serious system synergy going on with your associated gear.

there is a very strong chance you might have a late pair of 2ci's with metal domes ( you can confrim this with richard- the very late models ci's had metal instead of cloth dome tweeters).

i had a similar experience with changing out a pair of speaker cables on the top end of my alon II ( went with cardas neutral) and this is the first time i have absolutley blown away by a minor change.

goes to show that newer is not always better.

good listening,

Two of my best surprises were a Arcam CD92 and Sonographe SA250 amp.These products are simply outstanding,and just put some other awfully expensive stuff to shame.