Vandersteen Model 2CE's: Should I upgrade?

I've owned these Vandersteen speakers since 1992 and they have sounded better and better as the rest of my system has improved.I've compared them to much more expensive B&W's and like mine better. I have a Bel Canto Evo 200.2 amp which is rated at 125 watts per channel and a Conrad Johnson PV12 tube preamp. I'm aware that the Model 2 has been improved since I bouhgt them and that there now is a Signature series. One dealer also told me that it would also sound better with a Vandersteen subwoofer. Is the sound that much better to justify these expenditures? What about upgrading to the Vandersteen Signature 3A? Is that a much better speaker and is worth making the jump?
Having used Vandersteen speakers for years, I will answer your questions like this--- The 2ce Signature is a better sounding speaker than the 2ce and worth the change in my opinion. The 3A Signature is what I'm currently using and it is a giant leap over the 2ce Signature. It presents a bigger soundstage with an uncanny ability for the speakers to vanish. Transparency is much improved.
Adding the 2Wq subs to any of the speakers is an improvement. I use a pair with my 3A Signature's. The subs allow you to roll the lower octaves out of the speakers and in the process, allow for more transparency and dynamics. Read up on the 2Wq threads about filter choices.
Using a pair of 2Wq's with the 2ce Signature will definitely improve dynamics. However, Richard Vandersteen suggested to me to go with the 3A Signatures because of the more open and transparent sound. I later added the subs which just augmented an already fine sound.
I agree with the advice given by Bigtee.

I just helped a friend get into Vandersteen 3A's as his first high end speaker. He has lost a lot of sleep lately, staying up late into the night revisiting his music library.

The Vandersteen line is a speaker for music lovers, probably responsible for more people becoming "audiophiles" due it's value to price ratio.

Only you know if upgrading speakers is a necessity for your happiness. If it is, the advice given is where you should go, especially considering your long term satisfaction with the 2Ce.
What they said. I went from the 2ci to the 3Asig and it was a VERY satisfactory upgrade. And you could add 1 or 2 subs at a later date, and also recoup some of the $ via selling the 2ces.
Well, hell, I might as well jump on this train also -- particularly with such august company. I previously owned the Model 2Ci's, then went to the 2CE's, then to the Model 3A's, which I later had upgraded at the factory to the 3A Signatures. The 2CE Sig's are a fine speaker for the money, but the 3A / 3A Signatures are a substantial move up the performance ladder. I have helped my son move through the Vandersteen family of speakers, starting with the 1B's, and most recently to the 3A's. (I remember his girl friend's comment after we got the 3A's set up properly in their living room: she said she had no idea that such quality of music reproduction was possible in the home.)

For my money, the 3A / 3A Sig's are an astonishly good speaker, and I think they make a better long-term investment than going from the 2C to the 2CE Signature. If your budget will allow, give serious consideration to the 3A's or 3A Sig's -- you won't be disappointed.
I'd like to thank all of you for your insightful comments. Since it looks like I will be looking very seriously at the 3A Signatures, do you think that I would be able to power them with my Bel Canto EVO 200.2 or will I need something more powerful?
you can also get 2wq to add to your existing 2ce. you can even get a pair of subs that will bring your system far better than with 3A's. you will have benefits of bi-amplified active system that you can adjust to perfection.
overal vandersteens havn't had any major improvements over the past 10 years and sound basically the same.
Unless you have a very large listening room, or tend to listen at "ear bleed" levels, you Bel Canto amp should be a very nice pairing with the 3A Sig's. Since you've raised the question about power levels for the 3A Sig's, you should be made aware that Vandy speakers are less well suited to playing at very high SPL's, compared to some other speakers. The Vandy 3A / 3A Sigs are of medium efficiency (87-88 db) , and they employe a 6-db, first order crossover, which somewhat limits their ability to play very loudly. If pushed to high volume levels, Vandy speakers may compress the dynamics a bit. I have driven my various Vandy speakers quite effectively using a low distortion 125 wpc solid state amp (although my current amp has about 300 wpc). Based on what I have read of the Bel Canto Evo amps, they have good dynamic headroom, and good bass control, so yours should be fine with the Vandies.
you'll love either signature series.
I agree that your current amp should be fine. The Vandersteen's as a whole do require power. I'm currently using a Belles 350A (250/ch @ 8 ohms) I have never felt the amp was remotely stressed for loud levels. I did use McCormack .5's back a while (rated at 100/ch) Thought they did fine but honestly didn't sound as refined and powerful as the Belles.
As a passing note, I can't agree at all with the sameness statement of the above gentleman. I have found an improvement as you go up the line although it is a less of one between the 3A and 2Ce Signature. The 3A Signature IS a jump above these two. The 3A Signature uses the Model 5 tweeter and midrange. This is a quantified improvement in drivers over the 3A and below and it shows in its performance. Also, when speakers and/or drivers are utilized correctly from the beginning, there is no need to bring out a new improvement every year. Vandersteen upgrades when genuine improvements come along.
having owned vandy 1 and 2ci's over the years and have moved to a higher resolution / transparent design. i have heard the 3a's in a friends house and they are nice but sound like a bigger 2 ( still laid back in the mid for my taste). they are nice but not as musically involving as some other speakers that i have heard.

i haved always enjoyed vandies and found they do their best with high resolution gear ( i went with pse studio V mono blocks amps at richard vandersteen's reccomendation). but they have seemed to be lacking coherency in the midrange ( top and bottom are fine).

a similiar design by alon has cured me of speaker "upgradeitis". they are similar in design - sealed bass enclosure but the mid and tweeter are on a open baffle.

the alon II(mark 2) or 5 are worth looking at in the used market.

the alon's offer a very musical, seemless and revealing presentation behind the speakers and do a great disappearing act. if you have heard a magneplanar then you know what i an talking about ( but with bass and dynamics!!!!!!) the cohearency of the speakers is amazing !! you are presented with the whole sonic picture and the sounds comes from a nicely layered soundstage that is huge and the images have smooth edges.

they are also very revealing of everything ( not bright... but revealing to speaker cable changes, interconnect changes etc, loose binding post etc..)

they are a dipole and need a room to breathe( the design is very similar except the back of the tweeter/midrange is open- a dipole). the bottom end of the model 5 is closer to the vandersteen 3 ( the alon 5 is a amazing speaker from top to bottom). the bass of the alon model 2 mkII goes to 40hz.

i would give them a listen if you have the room for them ( they need to be 4-5 feet out in the room to breathe) they are one of the few box speakers that sound/image like a planar (huge soundstage with height).

the vandies are nice and have always been a awesome deal for the money.... but the drawbacks have been a lack of resolution/cohearency/transparency in the midrange.that is where they give it up. the thiels get the midrange right....but it isnt a fair comparison - similar models have costed about $1000 more...

hope that helps !!!

I want to know if i could upgrade my 2ce to signature Where do i buy the kit from. Your help on this matter will be helpful.


Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia
Contact Vandersteen Audio ( The speakers will have to be returned to the factory for the upgrade. It is not a field option.
I currently own 2CEs with a 2Wq sub. Is everyone saying that the 3A Sigs would be a big improvement even without the sub or should I continue to use the sub with 3A Sigs?
I own, but no longer use the same speakers. Before I changed to ESL speakers I added the vandersteen 2W subwoofer and the difference was enormous. I really liked the 2C's, but loved them with the addition of the subwoofer. I never contemplated the upgrade to "signature", don't know your budget, but strongly recommend the addition of the vandersteen subwoofer if you are sticking with the 2C line.
i have the sig's w/ no sub, very good electronics. my opinion is that a sub is only indicated if you are a bass freak or really like to crank the volume. the 2ce's are true full-range speakers, natural-sounding and honest. i have two different friends who upgraded (one to the 3 and one to the 5) and they have both had trouble integrating and driving the big speakers, as their rooms are not mansion size. also, i am not sure the signature's are "better" than the regular 2ce's - they are brighter, which is not necessarily a great thing in the world of cd playback. the bottom line, in my opinion, is that the 2ce's deliver everything needed for satisfying music reproduction at a reasonable price. unfortunately there is no need to upgrade .... but we do it anyway, as we are "audiophiles."
Yeah, going with 3A Sig. is the way to go. And with a pair of their subs its a great sound altogether.