Lacking Soundstage - Vandersteen 2C


I have been trying different placements with Vandersteen 2C speakers, but soundstage and depth have been elusive. The speakers are placed 2ft from the back wall and 2 ft from the side walls. One thing though, only the right speaker hads side wall next to it, the left one has a pillar (next to the entrance). The speakers are about 4 ft apart and about 8 ft from the listening position. The speakers are (now) toe'd in a bit, still cluttered soundstage.

Is there something wrong with the speaker placement?
I would try moving them at least 6 feet apart, (if not 7-8 feet) and pulled out from the back wall 3 feet, (if not more). 4 feet apart is way too close together for a proper stereo image.

The more you move them out from the wall the deeper the soundstage will get, but you will get a decrease in bass response, so you'll need to find a happy medium between depth and bass.

Also, toe them in just a few degrees to start, then try a little more until you hear just the middle images, then toe them back in until you hear your soundstage outside the physical boundries of the speakers.
It's been a long time since I've heard them. From what I remember,that was a good point about the 2C's.I wonder if these are the ones with the batteries in the crossovers that
may need replacing?
4'? Unless your using something like the new Tact Ambiphonics thingamajig, you probably don't have enough room for these speakers or you need to reconsider the placement.

Thank you very much for the responses. The room dimensions are 8' x 14'. But the speakers can only be placed against the shorter wall. Now I can stretch the distance between the speakers to about 6 ft but the right speaker will then be too close to the side wall.
Also,I read your placement after(sorry) writing about the crossovers,and Mofimadness is on the right track.Usually unless the manufacturer states otherwise,Try starting out with the triangle theory. If 7 feet apart,then 7 feet to the listening area.If 10 feet wide,then 10 feet to the listening area,and so on.
My guess is that your room is too small for these minimum baffle wide dispersion speakers that provide deep though not exceptionally tight bass that need room for driver intergration..
Try room treatments. I read the following tip-it makes a big difference in the image and soundstage, and its easy- Take a small mirror and have a friend hold it against the side wall. While sitting in the listening position, have your friend move the mirror along the wall until you can see the speaker's tweeter in the mirror (the speaker closest to the wall). The mirror will be in the first wave reflection. If you put something on the wall, like a tapestry or whatever, it will go along way to helping you get great stereo sound. For further refinement, try taming the second wave-continue to move the mirror further along the wall until you see the tweeter of the opposite speaker relected in the mirror. This is the second wave and if you place treatment there it will further refine the sound. This applies to any stereo and any room. Good luck.
Thank you All very much for the precious tips. I'll first try setting the speakers as far apart as possible as suggested by Mofimadness, Hifitime and Unsound, then I would try Tbromgard's suggestion to pinpoint wave reflection points on the wall. Will keep you updated with the status.

Thanks Again
All the Vandy floorstanders are sensitive to tilt and have a minimum listening distance (as specified in the manual). Also make sure that the speakers are level on both axes to begin with. I had to shim my Quatros to get the final tilt right. I use a Craftsman laser level to get a precise tilt at the listening position.

There is also the issue of minimum ear to speaker distance for time coincidence. This will be the minimum distance shown on the tilt diagram in the manual. (It's 6' for the Quatros, but 8' for the 3As, and I don't know what it is for the 2CEs. Check the manual.)

[Hifitime: No, no batteries in the Vandy 2s. The Quatro, 5A, and 7 require a high pass filter before the amplifier, and the one supplied by Vandersteen uses a battery for capacitor biasing (I don't really understand the need for this, either. It makes amp swapping less convenient).]


Thanks for the info, I checked the 2C manual and nothing was mentioned about the tilt, I know the 2CE manual does talk about tilt, do you think the tilt logic applies to 2C also?

Oops, I missed the distinction between 2CE and 2C. I don't know. Sounds like a question for Mr. Vandersteen.
Your sound-stage is cluttered because your speakers are way too close together at 4 feet apart and the images are overlapping each other like a pair of binoculars out of focus, and you never want the back wall distance of 2 feet and the side wall distance of 2 feet to be equal numbers.

Great tips so far, I would agree that your Speakers should be at least 7 feet apart and 2 feet from the right side wall if possible. I would also recommend moving the speakers out into the room approx. 3-4 feet as stated above, therefore you may have to move your listening position backwards in order to maintain your 8 foot listening position which is pretty good, if your speakers are 7 feet apart.

I would also recommend minimal to no toe-in in order to achieve a deeper soundstage. However, If you lose the center image with no toe-in (which is best tested with a solo vocal song) then you will either move the speakers closer together 1/2 inch each towards the center with no toe-in, or leave them where they are and try a very slight toe-in.

If your right speaker is any closer to the wall than 2 feet you may need an acoustic panel on the wall at the first reflection point in order to improve image focus. Keep in mind that you may need it anyway at 2 feet as well.

I would also make sure that you don't have anything in between the speakers unless they are far enough back behind the speakers.

You should also consider carpeting (if you don't have it), in between the speakers and the listening position in order to reduce the floor reflections and further tighten up the sound-stage.

I would hold off on the tilt for now and work on the above recommendations first.

Let us know how it goes, Good Luck!

Livin, some excellent observations above, especially that your room is too small to expect to achieve really excellent soundstaging.

A couple of observations, things that I have done successfully in the past. In addition to triangulating a speaker listening position set up, as close to equilateral as you can get, you need to kill (deaden) those first side wall reflections. You can use deadening materiels but they may not be nearly so successful as using extreme toe in, that is toeing in the speakers so that the axis of the speakers cross well in front of your listening chair. That and pulling your speakers out into the room at least 3 ft, more if possible, should help a lot with imaging. It wouldn't hurt a bit if you put something on the side walls to quiet down (breakup) patterns from continually reflecting side waves as they try to bounce about the room. BTW, using this extreme toe in also gives you a broader usable, but not ideal, off center stereo listening for someone sitting in a chair next to you.

Try it!
Try a screen on the wall less side. As others have mentioned, your room maybe too small.
Thanks Daverz, Newbee, Buconero117 and Yogibiy, for all the great tips. I moved the speakers about 6ft apart this morning but have not had a chance to listen yet. But will do over the weekend. By the way 6ft apart put the speakers about 1 ft from the side walls. Before I go for the acoustic treatments, I'd like to try toe-in suggested by Rich. Also, Yogiboy, did you follow the tilt instructions from the 2CE manual?

You people are very knowledgeable.

Thanks Again!
Hi Livin,
No, you should start by putting a book under the front to raise, then add another if needed till you get the sound you like. I had to tilt any Vandersteens I have ever owned. The closer you are the more tilt. I hope it works for you. I got tired of placement of floorstanding speakers so I went the route of monitors.
Hope it works out for you.
Thanks to all for great tips. I listened to Eric Clapton unplugged after moving the speakers 6ft apart and wow the soundstage is much wider and the instruments are where the mixer wanted them to be. It's still not ideal but much much better than before. I have yet to try the toe-ins and tilts suggested.

I'll keep you guys updated.

Thanks Again wonderful people.
FWIW, I have a pair of 1Cs, and they are a bit under 5ft apart. I get great width, decent hieght, a little extension into the room, and no depth (55" RPTV sits between them). IMHO, the 4ft space between them is not the problem. Placing the speakers too close to the side wall might make things worse (soundstage and frequency balance). But, it seems to have worked, so, I'm happy for you! The tilt is essential. Also try different amounts of toe-in, or no toe-in. Also, make sure the 2Cs are level in the horizontal plane. Vandersteen has stressed the importance of this for his designs in the past. Use a good bubble level, making sure both speakers are level and even in hieght.
Livin_262002, have been able to move the speakers further from the back wall? Say 4 ft? You are likely to benefit from some side absorbtion panels as well. But getting them 6ft apart was a major and necessary move.
I will just affirm the placement recommendations of the previous posters. The original 2C's were my first real high end speakers many years ago, and they generated a huge and enveloping soundstage, but the room I had them in gave them a ton of breathing room, and I remember LOTS of futzing around before I got them optimally placed.(I was single back then and could have my rig way out into the room... LOL...) But hang in there.... they're tremendous speakers if you can get them placed right.
I've had a couple of pairs of 2c's over the years and have always considered them one of the best there is. All of the recommendations above are great but it's true that your room and configuration may be a little small for them. I always found that little to zero toe-in should be required to get the best image, but usually in a little bigger space. Getting them spread farther than 4 feet was probably the best thing you could do and getting the tilt right to smooth the tweeter response is also critical.

What else is in your system? Vandy's are great speakers but with the right amplifier driving them, they just come alive... maybe it's all a good excuse for an upgrade! ;)

Sorry for the delayed update, but was busy at work :-). Well coming to the point, I tried a few things with speaker placements, now the speakers disappear into the soundstage but, the sound image seems to be left heavy (meaning it seems to be more defined between the the center and the left speaker), although vocals are imaging dead in center. No toe-in at all and no tilts at this time.

Just a refresher, no wall next to the left speaker (just a pillar) and glass window about 12" from the right speaker and a 2 ft wall between the window and a glass sliding door.

Any ideas?

Heavy wool drapes on that window may help. Wool army blankets are useful for experimenting.

Are you sure you can't do long wall placement? Your listening position would be close to the back wall with this placement, so you'd need to treat the wall behind your head (4" thick panels should do it. ATS Acoustics makes some inexpensive 4" panels).
Daverz, Thanks for the suggestion but cannot place the system against the long wall, that wall has a closet space (without doors) and an enterance to the room
I have an asymetrical (sp?) room as well. I think this is the main cause of your channel imbalance, which I suffer from as well. I just deal with it, and made sure my preamp has a balance control. If you're like me, off-center vocalists (unless they're supposed to be off-center) drive you nuts! I'd experiment with toe-in. Also, tilt-back is important for Vandersteen speakers. I'd check with Vandersteen and look into appropriate stands that allow proper tilt-back.
Thank you Bondmanp, I'll try your suggestion(s) and see if I can get a balanced soundstage. Mine is an int. with no balance control, so will have to fiddle with the speaker placement only. Also mine is a smallish room, with the system against an 8' wall, so have to figure out an optimal placement.

Best Regards
Wow that is not usally a problem with vandies. look in the manual they give you set up and where they should be in the room you need to measure the room lay it out like a grid and place it on a intersecting point. This is true of any speaker. Tilt matters. If it is a narrow room get rid of that first order reflection as stated above. Also make sure nothing is on the sides of them do you have them tucked into a cubby or a big tv in the middle of them of them? Like most speakers they like to breeth. If that doesn't do it maybe the amp or the cables.
Livin, FWIW Bondmanp and Programmergeek are correct about room set up being critical and responsible to your having a centered mono signal, but a stereo signal that is off center. While speaker location IS critical, in my room the listening position is even more critical. I had tried setting them up in a equallateral triangle which was off being centered on the center line of the room (that improved bass response some) but the center of my stereo image was left of center, closer to the solid wall (vs the other side which is near a 7' wide opening).

My solution was to place the speakers 1' from each side wall, severely toed in as described in my first post, and my chair was located on the center line of the room.

That may or may not be helpful to you in trying to solve your problems because of your room set up but it might give you some idea as to what is possible if you do something less traditional. BTW, firing that one speaker next to a wall and pointed straight ahead can create a difference in the signal (as opposed to the one with no side wall reflection issues). The severe toe in solves much of that problem. Unfortunately if the speakers aren't well away from the wall behind them, placing them next to a side wall is similar to placing them in or too near the corners.

Programmergeeks comments about the importance of symetry is right on. BTW, IMHO, tying to solve your problems with equipment will frustrating, expensive, and likely unsuccessful. Even a balance control won't do anything much for you if you already have a mono signal dead center. It IS the room and what is possible (or not possible) to achieve in it.

Hope that helps you a bit. BTW, some of us have worked a very long time to get a room with an excellent sound stage. Maybe we were just dense, but I think it is not that simple. :-)
All the responses above make sense, however, you must have components that can reveal depth and width. I find that power cords can do wondrous things...if you choose the right ones.