I got back into this hobby two years ago and have acquired a few pairs of speakers including Vandy 2c and 2ci after reading good reviews about them. No, I haven't heard or owned the latest model 2ce. My feeling of the 2c and 2ci models that I owned in last year is really just average. The strength and value of these speakers simply match their market prices as used. In the past two years, I heard or owned Merlin, Silverline, Dunlavy, Thiel, Vandersteen, Martin Logan, vintage JBL, Tannoy, B&W, Meadowlark, Klipsch, and other so so brands. The Vandersteen 2 to me is almost at the end of the names that I mentioned. My amps are CJ, Rogue, Audio Space, Bryston, etc.
These speakers are the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II model and I purchased them in 2012.
I had not heard of the brand Vandersteen before I bought these speakers. I had met an audio dealer by chance, since where I live there are not many left at all. I had just listened to Magnepan 1.7s and I had favored them. I had worried that my amp would not drive them as well as the powerful McIntosh the dealer was using....but they were the frontrunners when I was looking for a two channel speaker within my budget.
I had listened to about two dozen pairs of speakers by B&W, Klipsch, Paradigm, Totem, KEF, Rega and some others. When I listened to the 2CE Sig II I was sold. Dynamic, musical, balanced and just right. I had brought CDs of many kinds of music I enjoy for two sessions of just.... listening. Whatever was thrown on the CD player, the Vandersteen reproduced very well. I was amazed since I did not think this older, odd designed speaker could sound this good. Even with a push-pull low powered tube amp..... they sounded great.
So this is my glowing report after owning them for about 3 years. I might add a GR research subwoofer or two down the road. But for now.... I am really enjoying this musical speakers.
These speakers are a bargin in the used market. Vandersteen sold so many of these that they are a easy find if you look hard enough. Rather then rehash what others have said I will touch on a couple things I've found. First download the manual from the internet, read it and placement will be a snap. 2nd you don't need a huge room or a whopper of an amp. I drive them with an Audio Research D-115 100watt tube amp and they need NO sub woofer. The problem with many lower wattage amps is a micky mouse power supply. My ARC has three huge transformers and weighs 75lbs. I also play them with an Odyssey ss amp witch is 150watts and they sound good but the bass is thinner then with the smaller amp so I think its the power supply in the ARC that makes the difference. I also play them with an old Sansui au9500 which is only 85 watts and they still sound good. My room is a little on the tight side for these speakers at only 15x13 but using the suggestions in the manual they image nice. The best sound stage i've had in my house ever. 3rd if you get them used don't forget to pickup the stands and try to get the cables they were using if they were bi wired. They sound best bi wired even if you most used cheap cable to from home depot to make them it will be better then a quality single cable. Mine came with Audio Quest Indigo Blue cables which would have been $$$.
These speakers will just embarrass many speakers in the way they image and the bass goes way low. I think they look cool as well, speakers today all look like our wives bought them at Pottery Barn.
These speakers are so good they make me want to buy the newer version which I'm told are even better.
This is an add on review to my previous review of my Vandersteen 2ci speakers. After approximately a year and a half I'm still in love with them, in face more so, but I learned something recently. I had always thought that my old NAD speakers lacked bass and fullness. When I bought my 2cis I fell in love with the sound, but thought that they also lacked bass and that the sound wasn't large enough. I thought I was going to have to eventually upgrade Then my old Kyocera 310CX CD player finally died. It had always produced a nice warm involving sound, but I was selling some Infinity RS 2.5s, and the buyer told me the Infinitys were good, but I needed a new CD player. The 310 died soon after, and, as I liked the Kyocera sound, I found a used Kyocera 710CX in good condition. The 710 was Kyocera's top of the line audiophile grade CD player. As soon as I hooked it up the sound stage expanded and the bass I thought the 2cis were a little light on appeard. In spades. The 710 improved every aspect of the Vandrsteens performance. Clarity, seperation, spatial presentation and bottom, it's all there, and the Vandersteens now sound WONDERFULL!!! I never feel now that they are lacking in any aspect, and I no longer feel that I'm going to have to upgrade to be satisfied. I've heard the Vandersteen 3 Signatures and the Quatros, and if I had the money I'd buy a pair of Quatros in a flash. But I am SO happy with my 2cis now. Ive also listened to Martin Logans, Alons, ProAcs, Thiels, $25000 a pair Montanas, and various assorted and sundry other speakers. None of them do every thing as well in balance as Vandersteen speakers do. They may be superior in a certain aspects, but the Vandersteens are the only speakers that I don't feel that something is missing from. If you are shopping and see a pair of used Vandersteen 2 or 3 Signatures, grab them.
The point of this re review is to say to those of you who feel the Vandersteens are lacking, or don't have enough bass or presentation, it's not the speakers, it's the other equipment. I had no idea a differant CD player could make that much differance, but it did. For the record I auditioned several other CD players including
NAD (too clinical), Denon (too laid back), SONY SACD, Cal Audio, and more. The old Kyocera DA710CX was the best. Easily. If you are shopping for an audiophile quality CD player and don't want to spend a grand, these can be found on EBAY for appx. $200. Well worth it.
This review is for the 2Cis, not the 2Ces. I can't say enough good things about these speakers. I had upgraded to a pair of Infinity RS 6000s that I found for $125.00 after I got fed up with my NAD model 10s. Yes they made speakers for a couple of years. Mine were a 10 inch 3 way system. Anyway, they're gone and I DON"T miss them. I thought I had a pretty good pair of speakers with the Infinitys. Especially for $125.00 for the pair. The EMIT tweeter is nice. Then I found a pair of RS 2.5s which I bought. But I got curious after reading about Vandersteens, and went and listened to a pair of 2C Signatures. I was sold, but couldn't afford them new. I found a pair of 2Cis used for $400 and bought them, took them home, set them up, and sold the RS 2.5s. These Vandersteens are WONDERFUL. Balance, harmony, integration, warmth, clarity, everything is where it should be in the proper balance. I realize now what the Vandersteen dealer was talking about when he mentioned the Infinity smile, that Arnie Nudell made his speakers top and bottom heavy. The old classic infinitys are great speakers, but not balanced.
I thought at first that the Vandersteens were a litte lite, not enough oomph, but I didn"t have them wired right. I had some crappy 12 guage wire from Fry Electronics and had them bi-wired wrong. The guy who bought my RS 6000s gave me some quality solid core insulated wire to try out and I vertically bi-amped the 2Cis. Wham, they woke up. It was like night and day. I'm now a believer in quality wire, it does make a differance. Peope talk about needing some power to push them, that they aren' t good for late night low volume. Not true. Mine are running now at about 2 wpc and they tug at me from the next room. I have an old Soundcraftsmen Pro Power 10 mosfet amp that's actually two completely seperate bridgrable amps in one. I'm sure that a nice tube amp would sound better but as soon as I got the good wire on the 2Cis and vertically bi-amped them they just started to sing. The bass came alive, the mids and highs opened up and I'm SO happy. They're spacial, a larger sound stage then the Infinity RS 2.5s. I can't believe I got a set of speakers that sound this good for $400. I'm sure if I was spending 5 grand I could get something that sounded better, but you can get a new pair of 2C Signatures for about $1700. If you are going to buy speakers, you owe it to youself to audition some Vandersteens. These speakers are a blessing.