Vandersteen 2Ces Vs. ??? For Home Theater

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by HernanHernan, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Hi. I'm a newbie here but not to high-end audio and I'd love some of your opinions, especially from those of you familiar with the Vandersteen 2Ces. I am in the process of upgrading my surround sound speakers. I currently have the Wharfedale Moviestar 70+. I am getting rid of those. I am left with my 12 year old Vans and am wondering if I should build a system around them and buy a Vandersteen Center, Sub and surrounds on eBay (probably under $1,200) or sell the Vans and buy a surround sound system from some other manufacturer in the $2,500 region. What would give me the most musical sound and Home Theater bang?

    A little about my room, system, preferences and bias. My living room has an unfortunately odd and open shape. Two ends of the living room open up into other rooms - one end into the hallway, the other end into a very small den. The Hallway and den both empty into both opposite ends of the kitchen. There is no practical way to close up my Living room. The actual listening room is small (this is a Manhattan apartment, after all): 11"W x 14"L x 8'H.

    Reading these boards I am aware of advice that recommends smaller speakers for smaller rooms. That to me seems centered on the idea that smaller rooms require less sound to fill. As an audiophile I am much less interested in filling the room with sound than I am with good sound, so if a particular larger speaker will throw a better sound stage and have better timing, imaging, resolution and a more accurate timber -- I am all for it.

    Finally, I have lately been looking at replacing my Wharfedale/Vandersteen hodgepodge with a surround system by Aperion and I must say that for the money, the direct-to-market manufacturers are looking more and more attractive. I've also looked at Axiom and the Onix speakers. I currently purchased the Pioneer 74TXVi (140wpc) and that will be driving the system at first. I listen to Jazz, Classical and Classic Rock on CDs, LPs, SACDs and DVD-A as well as tons of action and sci-fi DVDs. Music and movies are equally important to me.

    So there it is. I would appreciate any advice, tips and info that would help me in putting together my next surround sound speaker system.
     
  2. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    I think the VCC-5 (the recommended center for the 2ce) will run you a bit more than $1200 alone.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    There's a VCC-1 center for $550, and a VCC Signature (which is now the VCC-2) for $1300. The VCC-5 is $2000 each and would be overkill with the 2CE's. (Go to the price list portion of the web site to look all them up. For some reason, the VCC-1 and 2 aren't listed in the products section right now.)

    I had an HT based around 2 CE Sigs. I loved the 2CE Sigs for 2 channel stereo. Pinpoint imaging. I even had the VCC Sig center, and just didn't like it. Sounded too much like a box. The speaker itself would not disappear into the soundfield. I couldn't use VSM's for surrounds and rears, so I got 4 VLR-1's. They didn't work that well either. The imaging was too good. Too distracting for movie watching. The last straw was near the end of Magnolia when the frogs start dropping from the sky onto the pavement. One of the first frogs is located in the right rear of the room. I jerked my head around because the sound was just too distinct. That setup was killer for multichannel music. But not so good for movies. One other problem is that if you moved your head 6 inches in any direction, the imaging (and sound quality) changed. Not necessarily for good or for worse, just that it changed. I couldn't live with that. I really liked the 2 CE Sigs for mains, but the other parts of the system came up short in my case.

    I eventually settled on a Mirage Omnipolar system. In the end, the sins of the Mirages for music are much more benign than the sins of the Vandersteen system I had for movies.

    I also tried the mixing and matching thing for a little while. You might be OK with it for a while, but in the end, I wanted speakers from the same manufacturer all around. Timbre matching and all. [​IMG]
     
  4. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    LOL!!
     
  5. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Actually, what you may find is that larger speakers that sound great in a large room sound awful in a smaller room, and small speakers that sound great in a smaller room all of a sudden get swallowed whole by a larger one. The room is a huge factor in how a particular speaker sounds, so you always need to be conscious of its impact. In my opinion, if you want a speaker that excels in imaging and throws a nice big soundstage in an 11x14 room, you should consider the best monitor speaker you can afford, or possible a floorstanding 2-way with a small footprint (something like a Totem Arro). I think you'f find that a smaller speaker will have a much easier time disappearing and properly placing performers in space, whereas a larger speaker will sound congested.

    There are a LOT of great little monitors out there. In your price range, I would suggest something like the Von Schweikert Sytem 10 or Sytem 12 package, but maybe an SVS PB-10 instead of the VSA sub. Another suggestion would be a pair of the smaller Totem speakers, as they have some nice, inexpensive surrounds to match.

    My advice would be to stay away from a larger 3-way floorstander, but YMMV.
     
  6. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Thank you all for the quick replies. I am listening to your advice with great interest, taking note and looking forward to further input. Does anybody have an idea as to how well the Aperions might do in my situation? Being spoiled by the Vandersteen 2Ce's, I have a bias for small, full-range towers. As a result, I've been looking at building a system around the Aperion Intimus 533-PT towers which basically seem to be Aperion Intimus 532 monitors attached to their 8" sub. Any experience with these? Any experience with how these compare to the other direct-to-consumer brands such as Axiom and the Onix Rockets? By the way, I too am done with mixing-and-matching speaker brands/lines, which is why I am even considering giving up on my beloved 2Ces. Finally, let me say that while I do have a bias for small towers, I have not ruled out going with monitors all around.
     
  7. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I must have read through your post too quickly, cause for some reason it didn't register that you already HAD the Vandys. Those are VERY good speakers, my friend, so I would advise you to be careful not to take a step backward in terms of sound quality just for the sake of having a surround system that matches. If music is important to you, I would think you'd get much more enjoyment out of a very good 2-channel system vs a lesser 5.1 system.

    I also noticed that you are in Mahnattan....that being the case, I'd like to encourage you to at least check out some of the DeVore Fidelity offerings. These speakers are not inexpensive, but they are absolutely fantastic. They have been receiving rave reviews, and John DeVore is right there in NYC. I actually recently purchased a pair of Gibbon Super 8s and I could not be happier. My local dealer here in Atlanta recently decided to replace his $30k Avalons with a pair of the DeVore reference Silverbacks (which are a little more than 1/3 the price). These are speakers that can be the foundation of your system for years, as you will have a very hard time doing any better at their given price points.

    Just another option for you.....
     
  8. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Alan, I couldn't agree with you more. The Vandersteen 2Ces ARE excellent speakers and I love the way they reproduce music. Also, they do a credible job with movies as they offer very deep and fairly well controlled bass (not state of the art control, but good control none-the-less). I most certainly DO NOT want to take a step backwards, and thus my caution... and my dilemma.

    Let me re-focus this conversation. I have the Vandersteen 2Ce's, the Wharfedale Moviestar 70+ 5.1 surround speakers (which I am definitely phasing out) and approximately $2,500 to spend (by the way, the $2,500 is contingent on selling the Vandersteens otherwise, if I keep them, I will have about $2,000 to spend on a center speaker, surrounds and subwoof). Not $4,000. Not $5,000. Given all that, what would be my best strategy for building the best Music + Movies surround sound system? Build around the Vandersteen 2Ces? If so, with which center speaker, surrounds, and subwoofer? Or sell the Vans and buy a $2,500 surround package? If so, which one.

    By the way, based on your suggestions I did check out the Von Schweikert speakers as well as the DeVore Fidelity Speakers (and yes, the Totems as well) and you guys are making me salivate. But play fair, I am not in the market for a $3,700+ system, no matter how much you make me lust for them!
     
  9. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    lol....I"m sorry if I contributed to the lust factor....In all fairness, though, I didn't really mean for the DeVore suggestion to be a 5.1 rig....just a 2.0 or 2.1 for now [​IMG] A pair of those Gibbon 3s or 7.1s and a nice subwoofer would give you a great system for music that would also do amazing things with HT. As for the Totems and Von Schweikerts, you could definitely do a 5.1 system for $2500, so at least keep them in the back of your mind.

    Do you already have the electronics picked out? If not, what is the budget for that?

    Are you able to go three of the same speaker across the front (this would be ideal), or do you have a screen or something that would get in the way?

    Which is more important to you, the "surround" experience of HT or the quality of music reproduction?
     
  10. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I'll add this company to my Totem and Von Schweikert recommendations. I've not heard these speakers, but they have rec'd fabulous reviews and I've heard nothing but great things from a few people whose opinions I value (and who HAVE heard these speakers).

    I have not heard the Aperions, but I'm just afraid they'll leave you wanting since you're used to the Vandersteens.....I REALLY think you need something better than what Aperion and Axiom offer, even though I'm sure both are great values.
     
  11. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    I had a long conversation (as long as you can with him anyway) with Richard Vandersteen and he strongly recommended the VCC-5 to go with the 2Ce. He said the VCC-1 would not keep up with the anything but the 1C. I haven't heard the VCC-1, so I am only going from 2nd hand knowledge (although it was from the designer of the speakers).

    This was about a year ago, though, so maybe his recommendation has changed.
     
  12. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Well, the VCC-5 would certainly blow my budget! It sells for more new than a pair of new 2Ces do! I have spoken to Vandersteen myself in the past. He came across as a bit eccentric, arrogant and overly sensitive. My brand new 2Ce woofers were honking and he refused to accept that there was anything wrong with his creations and he implied that it had to be my associated equipment. As it turned out, it was the new 2Ces which had surrounds that already needed to be re-glued. They worked beautifully thereafter and I continued to love my 2Ces. I must say, my conversation with him was one sided and did not leave me wanting to invest more money in his future.

    As for the RBH Speakers, I too have heard good things about them and they are on my short-list. Unfortunately, they are not available at any local store or boutique in my area, though they do have a "local representative" (whatever that means). From what I can tell, they are a terrific satellite/sub (sub/sat) set of speakers... but no more. A serious contender in their category but maybe not competitive with many slightly more full-range monitor-based surround systems. I would love to hear from anybody who has heard and compared them with some better known, similarly-priced monitors.
     
  13. BillSuneson

    BillSuneson Stunt Coordinator

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    just a thought but have you looked at the Polk LSi 9's they are a wonderful bookshelf that fill a small room with excellent sound, they have gotten phenomenal reviews and I do own a pair myself. To have 4 of these and the LSi Center would run retail about 2300 (if you were to sell off the Vandersteen's). just a thought that i haven't seen in the thread yet. and just because it's polk audio "don't knock it till you've tried it" great speakers
     
  14. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    ??? Did you read the review I linked? Those are a set of 5 speakers, not a sub/sat system. They DO have sub/sat systems, but that is not what they're known for.

    I don't know if you saw this, but here is the frequency response for the Aperion 533-Ts: 70-20,000 Hz +/-3db

    The RBH 61SE (reviewed in the article I linked): 45Hz - 20kHz +/-3dB

    Those little 61SEs will give you a fuller sound, and I would bet the house that they'll trounce the Aperions.

    If you object to the RBH speakers for whatever reason, that's totally cool....there are lots of choices out there.....but I'm pretty sure they're a much stronger value than you're giving them credit for.
     
  15. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Bill/Alan -

    Thanks for your great recommendations. To tell the truth, Bill, I had dismissed all Polk options as mass-market garbage. I am ashamed. I was raised to not be prejudiced. [​IMG] In any case, your recommendation made me go do a little research and, what do you know, the Polk LSi9 is well regarded and may indeed be a great little (or not so little) speaker. Alas, they won't do for me for two reasons: 1) I am staying away from 4 ohm speakers; and 2) my budget for this is $2,500 and even if I were to nudge it up a bit, at $1149.95 per pair for these baby's. Five of them (if I can even buy them individually, they seem to be sold only in pairs) would cost $2875. Add a fair subwoofer, and the total cost would be around $3,500 -- which is $1,000 over my budget.

    As for the RBH speakers, that is another great suggestion. Alan, I had checked your link but I hadn't dug deep enough. I automatically went and checked their excellent Sub/Sat systems which I had already looked at in the past. Due to your follow-up post I went back and checked their more substantial systems and the salivating began again. The real gems in their line seem to be the 61-SE. Five of them would cost $2,250. A decent subwoofer would bring the cost to around $3,000. Over my budget, yes, but perhaps doable. So a system based on 5 RBH 61-SE's stays my list.

    The hunt's not over folks... I would still appreciate any suggestions from you fellow enthusists. Please remember my two options: Keep my Vandersteen 2Ce pair and spend $2,000 to buy a compatible center-channel, surround pair and subwoofer... or, sell the Vandersteens and spend $2,500 (under $3,000 to be sure) on the very best set of 5.1 surround speakers I can buy. Room dimensions in my first post above.

    For now, they will be driven by a new Pioneer 74TXVi (140wpc) receiver (three separate Rotel 980BX power amps might be added in the near future). My main sources include the VPI Junior (HW19) turntable, a brand new Pioneer DV-79AVi Universal Disc Player and a Time/Warner Digital Cable T.V. Box.
     
  16. BillSuneson

    BillSuneson Stunt Coordinator

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    any reason for avoiding 4 ohm speakers and if you go to any store that carries the LSi series you'll be able to get 1 pair for 900 or so. and an LSiC for another 500 so you'd be looking at 2300 thats why i threw that out to ya, and for the money you won't find a better speaker. If you're in the area more than welcome to come over an listen to em. oh and the pioneer will handle the 4 ohm load with ease


    Bill
     
  17. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Thanks for the Polk price info and invite, Bill. If I can indeed buy the Polk LSi9's for $900 a pair, given what I've read about them I'd say that they certainly deserve an audition and should be back on my short-list along with the Aperions and RBH sets. Do you have any idea who sells them at discount? I had checked for them online earlier (after your first post) and had no luck in finding them at discout from any reputable source.

    Why stay away from 4 ohm? Mostly superstition and a bad experience. My previous home theater receiver, a Pioneer VSX D814 (granted, it is a "lesser" receiver) BLEW UP after just two years service with the Wharfedales Moviestar 70+ surround speaker set. The Wharfedales which are 4 ohm speakers across the board, survived the travesty just fine. While I understand that the fault most likely lies with the receiver, or with a freak of nature, and not with the Wharfedales... I figure, why make a receiver or amp suffer with a 4 ohm load when there are so many perfectly good 6 & 8 ohm speakers out there. I suspect that my Pioneer Receiver will handle them with ease, but Pioneer DOES recommend AGAINST 4 ohm loads and given my recent bad experience (KaBoom) I am not sure I am ready to test fate so soon (but I may... and I am tempted).

    By the way, I have never been able to find any reviews of the now discontinued Wharfedale 70+ surround set so let me tell you all that these were an incredible value for the money. Although they sport a cheap, laminate finish, they are otherwise incredibly well built for the price. The binding posts alone are of a quality you don't often see even in speakers costing 3X as much. They are well braced, solid, heavy little fuckers. They come with a credible 8" subwoofer with 100wpc amp built in and a D'Apolito style center channel. The sound? Well, they sound terrific. Absolutely terrific for the money. I can't imagine that a dozen years ago you could get a set of six speakers of this quality at anywhere near the price! They are not incredibly revealing. They don't have much of a soundstage (at least not as I had them set up). They do leave a midrange "hole" in your system. On loud, sudden impacts (such as those found on action films) they do have a tendency to suddenly sound harsh and then go back to smooth. By no means a GREAT set of speakers... but SERIOUSLY, I dare you to do better at a MSRP of $600 (and sometimes discounted for a lot less).
     
  18. BillSuneson

    BillSuneson Stunt Coordinator

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    well if you're in IL/WI/IA then you could turn to American TV otherwise Tweeter carries these speakers. I don't know about other retailers but Ebay typically has some as well as Audiogon/Videogon and Amazon might be a good spot to check as well. The Cherry 9's are an amazing looking as well as sounding speaker. Again, if you're in the area (N. IL) feel free to let me know and you can demo mine.

    Bill
     
  19. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Bill, I live in New York City. Manhattan to be exact. We have plenty of fancy, "boutique" audio stores here, but I don't believe that any of them sell Polk. I'll check, however. We also have the two big national "big-box" chains, Circuit City and Best Buy -- but they typically only sell Polk's lesser, mass-market lines. However, once again, I'll check to make sure. That leaves me with buying online. I have already checked Amazon and Crutchfield and they both sell the LSi9's, but at list price (in fact, Amazon acts only as a conduit for Crutchfield). All search engines herd you back to Amazon and Crutchfield. Can you say "monopoly" and "chokehold on the market"? Anyway, like I said, I will check local dealers to see if I really can get them at discount in NYC and I'll check ebay and Audiogon as well. Alas, your demo Bill will have to wait until I am next in the area. I do love home auditions of audio equipment and chewing the fat with fellow enthusists/audiophiles though. [​IMG]

    Interesting that the two leading recommendations thus far, are lines that are not easily found at the "big-box" stores or audiophile "boutiques." Of course, neither are my early favorites, the Aperion line. Just goes to show that the market MOSTLY caters to crap on one end and to unaffordable, niche products on the other.
     
  20. HernanHernan

    HernanHernan Extra

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    Concerning the Polk LSi9's, there is bad news and there is good news.

    First the bad news (A.K.A.: Another Blow Against the Empire) -- Neither Best Buy nor Circuit City have the Polk LSi seriues listed on their Web sites. Furthermore, a local chain which does sell Polk Speakers, PC Richard & Sons, does not sell the LSi Line.

    The good news is that J&R Music World, a well known and reputable NYC dealer and mail-order service which I've beeing doing business with since they were a tiny hole-in-the-wall store front shop 30 years ago DOES have the LSi9's and at a small discount ($1,000 a pair). This is great but still brings in the system at $2,500 for the speakers sans subwoofer. Maybe doable, but a stretch.

    Much more of a concern to me at this point is what is featured prominently on the J&R page for the Polk LSi9's: "4 Ohm impedance -- high-current amplification recommended".

    Well, at least I have a source if I decide to kill my budget and go for much feared 4 ohm speakers.

    By the way, a word on J&R Music World. A sad word indeed. As I mentioned above, these guys have been around for 30+ years and became New York's best and most resilient source for low-fi and mid-fi brands (and that is not a knock, a lot of enjoyment has been had by the working man from those affordable mid-fi brands) along with a smattering of some high-end products, all at a discount. They outlasted Crazy Eddie, The Wiz, 47th St. Photo and countless other regional competitors. Their staff, while NEVER super-knowledgeable or super-helpful (and always a bit greasy), was always far and away more knowledgeable and helpful than the staff from any of the big-box stores (past and present). In addition, they once offered the most amazing Classical, Jazz and Rock music stores in the city (each of the three genres once had its own separate store). Even beating Tower and Virgin. They had an amazingly and huge selection, and always at discount. Alas, this store is not what it used to be. I don't know if they have fallen on hard times, or if it is the competition from Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Adorama and B&H Photo, a refocusing on their very successful mail-order business or the aftermath of September 11th (They are about three short blocks from the former North Tower of the World Trade Center)... or disinterest by the now millionaire owners... but the store has fallen into disrepair. Badly in need of painting, cleaning. Sad Empty shelves everywhere. More low-fi and less mid-fi. More disorganized. The great music stores have been merged into one and is no longer stocked as richly as it once was -- or as attractive and fun to browse and buy in. Their photography store has suffered a similar fate. Their computer store also, but to a lesser degree (and yes, each of these comsumer catogories is housed in a seperate physical store on the same city block. Quite ingenious, actually). Could this be the end of J&R? At least of their retail stores? I hope not, but it is a shame how far they have let this once fantastic emporium of consumer electronics and music fall. None-the-less, if you buy from them I think you can still do so with confidence. B&H Photo and Adorama (both mostly photography shops, but they carry other items as well) are also local NYC retail and Mail-order dealers that I would highly recommend. These stores all HUGE NYC retailers, sell quality merchandise and generally stand behind the products they sell and have a (mostly) fair customer service policy.
     

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