Vandersteen 1C Floorstanding Speakers

1C

8-inch poly woofer and 1-in ferrofluid-cooled metal dome tweeter

User Reviews (73)

Showing 1-10 of 73  
Joe F   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 08, 2014]

I purchased a pair of 1c's from John Rutan at Audio Connection in N.J. in 2009. I've known John since Richard Vandersteen clued me in on him in 1991. I've owned 2ci's and 2ce's previously. They were both great speakers. The system I currently have is the one I've spent the most time building. The 1c's are excellent speakers. I listened to many speakers over the years, I've been into audio since 1985. Every time I turn on my system I have to stop to listen. I am using a 50 watt tube integrated and with the Vandersteens I end up listening for extended periods of time. I've come very close to being late for work several times trying to break away. This is the first system I've owned that has done this to me. There is zero listening fatigue yet the detail and even the brashness of a horn or feedback from a guitar is there. The treble is extended but not edgy. This is pretty close to miraculous when it comes to design work using a metal alloy tweeter and Richard Vandersteen is at the top of the list when it comes to speaker design. I can't pick up on the transition from the tweeter to the midrange/woofer driver it just doesn't seem to be there. There is no overhang from the drivers to blur the sound. I see alot of other speakers at and above this price level getting strong praise in magazines. I've listened to alot of these speakers. I've owned some of them as well. They don't add up to the Vandersteens. Add in a great dealer like Joh Rutan and you have a little piece of heaven right here on earth. Have fun.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
KEREN4U   AudioPhile [Dec 09, 2010]

This a speaker which will find itself at home in almost any setting. I purchased the 1C's new after having read
reviews in audiophile magazine. I brought my McIntosh MC225 tube amp with me to demo prior to purchase.
The sound was nothing less that amazing. Detailed highs,and more bass capability than many speakers 4 times the price. I have since upgraded my amp to a McIntosh 2205 and still find that the IC's are perfect in every way.
I must disagree with the writer of a previous review who stated that a large room is necessary. This is an old axiom which I must refute as my library is only 10x12 feet. The sense of separation is excellent. These speakers will finesse anything that is put into them;Taming the worst CD into an engaging listening experience

The 1C's have all the ingredients that make for detailed, lively , yet totally non fatiguing sound. In summation ,
they have the authority , staging and imaging that is only found in speakers over$ 5000.00 . If you have a chance to buy a pair, don't hesitate.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
deemik   AudioPhile [Jul 03, 2010]

I have owned a pair of 1C's for about 8 months. My equipment consists of a manley stingray, Sugden CD player, SOTA turntable, bellari tube phono stage, GRADO cartridge and Van Den Hul cables. I listen to a variety of music such as Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock and Blues. My review of the 1C's has been done well over about 500 hours of playing time on the speakers with my own electronics in a 3.5m X 6m room. The 1C's has been very difficult in placement from the day I bought the speaker. Images are quite difficult to balance in my room. They do perform better in large rooms though. I've found that the 1C's play bass as if it was a single note, quite a weak sense of pitch in the low notes. An instrument such as a bass guitar lacked power and authority. A piano moving between the registers sounded 40 foot wide moving from one side to the other as opposed to sounding togehter. The presentation I found was quite laid back lacking involvement. The midrange plays quite weak in general. The upper frequencies does have good extension but lacks refinement and sounds as a little cheap. The 1C's however present a large soundstage and do show off when partnered with better elecotronics. They can also be positioned closer to side walls and sound good when positioned straight or toed in. They are quite transparent for a speaker at this price. I think overall that the 1C's are a decent value for money but one could do better with spending a little extra money on a pair of loudspeakers.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Jim   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 03, 2009]

I can't say enough about the quality of this speaker. I recently purchased a pair used for $375, which is an absolute steal. I've been familiar with Vandersteen speakers since 1988. A high school friend's father had the original Model 1's and they were great with Yamaha receiver.

A few years later I was selling hi-fi equipment and we carried the 1B. I sold a lot of 1B's, but never owned a pair. I owned Ohm 4XO's at the time and later got a great deal on a Keith Johnson designed pair of Precise Audio 600's. The opportunity to own the Vandy's just never presented itself. I did sell a pair of 1B's to a good friend though, and even used with his low end Pioneer receiver they sang.

Several years later and after owning NHT 2.9's and Ed Frias' AR.com DIY's, I've finally come full circle and own the 1C's. They are by far my favorite speaker to date. Yes, there are more expensive speakers that will outperform them. However, my $2500 NHT's never sounded as musical as the 1C's.

The 1C's have the most accurate midrange I've heard under $2K. They have great highs that are never fatiguing. The bass is very articulate and tuneful. They may not reach down to the 20Hz region, but they are strong into the mid to upper 30's, without a mid-bass bump to make them sound like more than they are.

The soundstage presented by the 1C's is beyond reproach. Listen to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." I dare you to not grin from ear to ear when listening to the 1C's presentation. The recording is from 1959, but you'll swear you were there. Not only can you easily tell the difference between the two saxophones being played, you can distinguish which hands are brushing the drums. Unbelievable.

There are few limitations with the 1C. They won't play at earth-shattering volumes, but they'll play music loud enough for anyone with any sense. They are the heart of my HT system and I've never had them run out of gas. My Hafler XL-280 (145 wpc) is more than enough amp for them. They're an easy load to drive, but deserve a good amp. They are the rare product that can sound pretty good with inferior equipment, but sound sound amazing with top-notch equipment.

I've heard many people say they're ugly, but I love the way they look. Simple and elegant. They have very nice wood accents. The only negative is that the grill-cloth "socks" are extremely easy for cats with claws to destroy. My cat's declawed, so no worries here.

As for placement, they should be away from the rear wall. I recommend at least a foot, but like many speakers, they do well out into the room. They definitely should be on their dedicated stands, tilted back as recommended by Vandersteen (a handy setup chart is provided), and the stands should be filled with sand or lead shot (I use sand, since it is safer.) Toe in isn't necessary, but it may help if you have nearby side walls, or if you like to tinker with your soundstage.

So, if you only have about $1000 to spend and want one of the most musical, timbrally accurate, and time coherent speakers you can find, then the 1C deserves your attention. No speaker is for everyone, but unless your a hard core metal head, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Lastly, I've always liked these more than the model 2. The 2 is great (2C, 2Ci, 2Ce, 2Ce sig...) but does better in a larger room and is a bit more finicky about what equipment you use. I don't think it is worth the significantly higher price. The 2 still outshines its similarly priced competitors, but not by the margin that the 1C does to its peers.

Strengths:
Imaging, accuracy, spaciousness, midrange magic. Very forgiving to inferior equipment, but excels with better equipment. Great intro to hi-fi sound that can grow with your system.

Weaknesses:
Few, but may not be the best for headbangers. Cloth cabinet can be easily damaged by pets or toddlers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ericshook   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 10, 2008]
Strength:

Sweet vocals, even better drums, smooth highs, not fatiguing, and can grow with your upgrades in electronics. You could never doubt this speaker could fit in well with $50k worth of electronics and even then show you what you did wrong.

Weakness:

For some people, bass is lacking. I say, go climb a tree!

I've been waiting some time to write this review. In that time I've had a chance to settle down and clearly in my head plot without question what I want to say here. I LOVE THESE SPEAKERS! My wife ran over the demo pair the audio shop had lent me over the weekend with her car, because I think she saw they made me smile in a way she never could. The fellows at Audio Advice where shocked but bit the bullet and said don't worry about it. Nice guys. The great news was that I ordered a pair to be built that day and still have them now. Sadly I did not keep the wife. Back to the speakers. They would probably get passed over if my place got robbed, but that's OK. They are sleepers in that since, but everywhere else that are fantastic. I find them not to be short on bass, but just about right for my needs. In larger rooms they may not do so bad, and as for placement I find them rather forgiving compared to other Vandersteen models. I am upgrading to the 2ce Sig Mk2's here in a few months, but will always miss my 1c's. Oh .. and yeah ... I'll miss the wife too. Pssshh

Customer Service

The guys at Audio Advice have my heart.

Similar Products Used: Polk Lsi9's(best bookshelf I've owned)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bt54   AudioPhile [Jul 26, 2008]
Strength:

Great Value
Excellent Sound Stage
Gerat Value on the used market

Weakness:

Very laid back
Clear presentation but they lack a full soundstage
Bass seems to be understated

I recently purcased a set of Vandersteen 1C;s for my studio - a budget project. The reviews I read were all over thetop about the 1C's. When I set up the 1C's the soundstage was fantastic. The presetation was netral and the clarity was good.

Specs - Vandersteen room
Denon 4305 amp - Tara Labs cables
Listening Room - Denon 4308CI (very similar spects to the 4305) - Canare 4S11 cables.

I played the same CD for comparison - Chris Botti Italia
This album contains both loud and quiet sections as well as vocals and orchestrial music..

The Vandersteen's in produced a rich sound with accurate highs and lows but were evtremely laid back - the soundstage seemed truncated.. The bass respone appeared to be undestated.

The B&W CDM=9NT's in my listening room produced a rich clear, clean presentation of the music with accurate highs and lows. The soundstage was rich and encompassing. You were presented the music exactly as it was recoreded. The difference in the presentation was dramatic.

The Vandersteen 1C's are an excellent value in the used market, When compairing them to the The B&W speakers ($1500 vs $450) the Vandersteen's are a great bargain.

The Vandersteens limitations are obvious in a speaker comparison test. The Vandersteens provide an excellent speaker for a budget setup but they are not the speaker for an audiophiile.

Customer Service

Not Applicable

Similar Products Used: B&W CM4 - B&W CDM-9NT's, B&W 705, B&W DM601
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
abcxyz   AudioPhile [Feb 08, 2008]
Strength:


-an easy match with any kind of amp at any price level
-a killer deal if purchased used but in good condition
-true full-range sound design
-perfect in a small to medium sized room when properly placed

Weakness:

-some may not like their looks but after you hear them, it is pretty easy to get past that even with the wives
-room needs to accommodate the necessary placement of the speakers to sound their best

I am very fortunate to have heard them early in my audio demoing! They became my standard to recognize a quality speaker. Firstly, they are very open and natural sounding. This is due to the multi-directional dispersement of the sound from a cabinetless speaker. Also, the bass is definitely comes out in the music in a very natural but not in an obtrusive way. It is a true full-range speaker that attempts to play all the frequency range from top to bottom in a balanced way. While it is slightly laid-back sounding, that is nice if you listen to music for long periods of time. I feel like I am in the fourth row of a live show when I hear them.

Depending your listening tastes, if you prefer an agressive sounding speaker, ie. Klipschhorns you may not care for the Vandersteens. They do go pretty loud to a point but not insanely loud but probably most of us would not play them at that level all the time anyways.

Nick at Audio Concepts in Houston was really good to me. Although I liked the 1Cs in the first minute I heard them play From The Beginning (by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), I let my CD-R keep going and track after track it was just fantastic on the Vandies. Nick came in an hour later with a big smile and asked how it was going. I knew then that I made the right decision to drive 3 1/2 hours to the nearest Vandersteen dealer to demo them first and make the purchase! (The price was $885 for the speakers and $85 for the stands plus tax.)





Customer Service

Nick is great guy at Audio Concepts in Houston. He let me hear them alone for an hour and I was really impressed with the speakers! I also called the manufacturer and actually talked to Richard Vandersteen who is a genius for thinking outside the box on the design of this speaker. Bravo Richard!




































Similar Products Used: Vandersteen 2Ce Sigs, 1B, Quad 12L, Decware DM944.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 16, 2007]
Strength:

great imaging, smooth, full bodied and, at the price point simply outstanding. There is a reason that Vandersteen is a 20+ year major player in an industry where companies come and go in a few mere years --- great performance anf greater value.

The ability to play well on cheap electronics and play superbly with good electronics.

Weakness:

low frequency extension, for an $800, is very good --- but on the absolute scale is aweakness (relative to say most 2K speakers). However, the low frequency performance can be wildly enhanced with good cables (speaker wire).

This is my third review of these speakers --- why three? With each upgrade made in electronics the speakers blossom more. I now have gone to an older solid state McIntosh amp and upgraded with MIT AVt 3 speaker wire (at $250). These speakers sound excellent, smooth, non-fatigunig, open and rich with cheap electronics -- typical Pioneer, Sony mainstream $150 amps and $200 CD players. But.... if you get a fine amp these speakers can simply be amazing. But the real issue to share is the speaker cable --- going from typical $40 speaker wires to the $250 MIT cables made the 1c's so much more full bodied, and the difference in base performance was staggering (so too was the imaging capability of the system). I was contemplating going to a $700 subwoofer to supplement the 1c's but the cables did the job far better --- allowing you to retain the coherence of the 1c's w/o muddying up things with a subwoofer --- and the cables made these speakers truely full range.

That is the bottom line. Read the reviews below and you will see that the midrange, the clarity, the dynamics, the imaging of these speakers are competitive at 2 - 3 times their price --- most $2000 speakers have nothing on the Vandersteen 1C's other than low frequency extension and rythem and pace at high volume. But, with good cables (like the MIT's) the low frequency extension of the 1c's can improve -- dramatically --- and the rythem and pace can as well. You do not need a subwoofer to get great base out of the 1c's --- just invest $250 in MIT speaker wires (which is way cheaper than a sub) and you are golden.

One other suggestion --- the vertical dispersoin in the 1c's is not very good when you place the speakers on the floor. I put mine on cinderblocks elevating the speakers 18 inches so that the tweeter is ca. 4.5 feet off the ground. By doing this the speakers are much bigger sounding and the soundstage is full size --- this too is a cheap tweak that elevates the !C's performance.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob holman   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 20, 2006]
Strength:

great imag depth, smooth, non-fatiguing sound, great timbre, plays well at low volume

Weakness:

poor vertical dispersion --- but when on stands this problem disappears

This is my second review of the Vandersteen 1c's --- I write this second review to inform 1c owners of a way to vastly improve to sound of the 1c's. The 1c's are smooth, non-fatiguing, rich sounding speakers that image well (with one major flaw), are fairly transparent (if you have a decent amp), play beautifully at low volume, provide gorgeous vocals and are simply outstanding at this price point --- literally being competitive , very competitive, with speakers at twice the price. I have had mine for 7 years now and love them --- now more than ever. The flaw eluded to earlier regarding imaging is that the 1c's have severely limited vertical dispersion --- it is as if the musicians are all 3 ft tall --- and this really hurts any sense of realism. Richard Vandersteen says not to place the 1c's on stands. I have, nonetheless, placed the 1c's on cheap stands (four cinder blocks per stand, placing the 1c tweeter a full 18 inches higher than without the stands). What a difference! Vastly superior! The sound stage is so much larger and the other attributes of the speaker seem to be enhanced as well. So, try it. It is cheap and the speakers sound, literally, night and day better when the tweeters are at ca. 4.5 ft off the ground rather than at 3 feet.

Similar Products Used: Epos
KEF
Paradigm
Magnepan
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Leslie   AudioPhile [Sep 18, 2006]
Strength:

These speakers are time and phase linear (a vandersteen standard for all models) which allows for breathtaking imaging. Very strong bass for a two way that will suprise most listeners at this price point. An almost complete lack of any kind of box colorations will make other offerings seem well, boxy as an old table radio! Addictive sounding, these will satisfy someone looking to get a taste of the high end without going overboard on the price. I can't wait to hear a pair of the larger 2ce signatures in my room. I'm never going back to the mass market dreck again.

Weakness:

The biggest "weakness" if it really is one is the size. These are large somewhat heavy speakers that aren't going to help win any awards for interior design. They also require carefull setup and should really be in a dedicated room for best results. These are most definetly "not for the kids". Excellent response usable in a smaller room down to about 35hz, but may require a sub in a larger room for the lowest bass. Probably not ideal for large rooms or if you have to comprimise for looks or size. If you have a small to medium room and are a serious listener than these are for you.

A wicked speaker for a smaller room. Performance far beyond what most people are accustomed to in this price range; when properly set up mass market competetors from the big box stores such as infinity or bose are left in the dust.

Similar Products Used: compared to speakers from B&W, KEF, Paradigm, JBL, Infinity, Bose, Magnepan. All fell short in comparison. Either not enough low end response or too much cabinet coloration plagued competition at this price.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 73  

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