The e is the newer version.
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The 2Ci does not go quite as low as the Ce, the bass difference is subtle as are the other changes. The Sig is reported to be a much improved speaker using the tweeter from the old 3a( the 3a Sig uses the same tweeter as the 5)and upgraded Xover. There is a cut off serial# for upgrading 2Ce's to Signatures. It was listed on their web site. Mine are too old to have it done or I would have by now. People I trust say to go with the Signature if you can. I have listened to the 3a Signature and is where I think I will go in the future.
The 2ce has a different tweeter than the 2ci in most models. There was a time when Vandersteen put the 2ci 3/4" tweeter in the earlier 2ce. Then he went to the improved 1" tweeter. The 2ce has a little better bass than the 2ci and with the 1" tweeter, a little more clarity. The 2ce Signature is a good bit better than both of these. It usually sells used around $1000.
I would stay away from the 2ci myself. I also would have to call into question using these as rock speakers depending on how loud you intend to play them. They are fairly inefficient and take a lot of power to get loud. They also run out of volume quicker than some speakers(especially in the bass). They are extremely refined, require a lot of attention to set-up, and have a window you MUST be in when listening. They have great transparency and image focus in this window and are extremely natural sounding. Not your typical rock speakers.
If I was going solely rock at loud levels, I personally would look elsewhere. They will "Rock" just not at most peoples idea of a rock approved level.
They are great for all sorts of music, and I play lots of rock and blues too. They are quite natural and accurate which works for everything."Rock" speakers are a breed unto their own and I would stay away myself. I don't know anything about the PSB. Vandersteens are easy to sell if you don't like them. Everyone knows what they are. It's not like selling some mystery item.
I agree with Maxgain's assessment of the Vandersteens' ability to play all kinds of music and about how easy they are to sell. I've also not encountered a situation where Vandersteens could not play more than loud enough (but I don't play music at unambiguously dangerous levels any more either, having been rendered temporarily deaf by arena concerts and the music in many smaller venues).
All speakers have a "sweet spot", a restricted area where they perform optimally. Properly set up (and I've not found that Vandersteen 1's and 2Ce's, at least, are not especially problematic in that regard), the 2Ce's do sound quite nice over a broad area.
I have 2 friends who had Vandy 2ci's and they both rocked pretty good, not ear bleeding sound levels but good enough.
BTW when we bi wired them the bass tightened a lot, it seems they like bi wiring more than most speakers
You should buy a pair, they are musical in the best sense, I would have myself but when AB'd to the Maggie 1.6 I preferred the Maggies open sound (but I am a planer fan from way back).
Having owned just about everything in the Vandersteen line, I agree they "Will" play rock. However, they WILL NOT rock at levels above about 92db. If you have a fairly large room and intend to play at that level or higher, I would look elsewhere. I had my 2Ce's biwired with a pair of McCormack DNA.5's. These amps will deliver a solid 100w into 8 ohms and do double down into 4. My dedicated listening room is 16' wide and 23' long on the long wall and a little over 19'long on the short wall. The ceiling slopes up towards the middle of the room and back down on the other side. I have no equal walls. It actually is an excellent listening room. With these amps, the Vandersteen's (2ce) would begin to compress at around 86db in the bottom and actually begin to distort in the bass around 92-94db depending on how deep it was. Some better recorded discs compressed earlier than this in the bottom.
For a reference, I was using a Meridian 508-20 and a McCormack modified TLC (by SMc).
I now use a pair 3A Signatures with a pair of 2Wq subs driven in a biamp configeration by a 4-ch Theta Dreadnaught using a Meridian 508-24 and an Audible Illusions L-1. The 2ce's can not begin to approach this kind of level of sound. It WILL rock if need be.
I will also stick to my guns that Vandersteen's require a lot of set-up. It not something you get in a week---maybe in a month and you'll get it tweeked out. You need to move these speakers in about 1/2-1 inch distances for a while. The sound will become something special.
My intended point is for Fishwater to understand they do have limitations. You need to decide exactly what your intentions are and then decide.
There are a lot of speakers that will rock with a bigger sweet spot and much better off angle listening. Speakers I personally don't care for but they will rock. NHT comes to mind along with B&W,Proac,PSB(as you mentioned). They're alot of them. Just go listen and decide.
I will be the last person to knock a Vandersteen loudspeaker but I'm just trying to provide my assement from my experience since my first pair of 2's in 1979.