Pulling myself out of old, broken equipment, one hesitant step at a time...

My father purchased Klipschorns in 1976, ran them with various McIntosh components, so it was only natural that I would look for my own version of hi-fidelity, starting around 1992. That brought me in touch with Vandersteen 2Ci's and 205wpc parasound HCA1200ii. The amp still functions; the 2Ci's are in the shop. They want $400 for the re-coning of one driver and re-edging another, on one speaker. This would also imply another $400 for the other speaker, which was the shop's recommendation and it makes common sense to refresh both speakers, as doing only one would create a kind of lop-sided musical affair. So, I can spend $800 on the 2Ci's, but this means I'm working with a thirty-year-old set-up and who knows when other drivers will pop. Truthfully, the shop is giving me a deal, even at the $400 mark; I know, because he waved some of the labor charges that he included initially. Apparently, Vandys are not easy labor, but Vandy lovers would like to keep the 2C experience rolling as long as possible...

Anyway, I also snatched a sale pair or RP280's for less than $500. They are lively and have provided many memorable music moments over the past nine months. Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to move on and up with things, so here is where I have gone and invested probably hundreds of hours reading reviews, few of which offer much in terms of direct comparison to other equipment (I might want to buy)... So, here is what is standing out for me:

Odyssey Kismet in the Stratos case.

Van Alstine Vision SET 120 or 400

Nuforce STA 200

So, any useful way of discriminating between the three, recognizing that the amplification of the STA 200 and 120 are about 80wpc, with the other two closer to 200wpc. I'm particularly interested in a 3-D soundstage. Subtlety and dynamics, authentic highs, sweet midrange and bass control are also on the top of my list. Before pointing me to tubes, I'll note that I live in one of the warmer parts of California. We are in the midst of 100 degree days here, so tubes will not fit well for me, until about November 1st.      

And finally, the idea is to pick a sweet amp, followed by a speaker upgrade. I'm interested in the excitement surrounding Tektons. I don't imagine spending more than 2K on any particular element of my new system... 

Thank you for your thoughts!
I’d like to know the shop whos charging you that much to recone-refoam 2 drivers. seriously you can buy new drivers for less then that (most likely).

An example a used set of your speakers sold on Audiomart for less then $500 Canadian last April.
I’m thinking you should look at speakers and an amp to match don’t go out and buy an amp with out a speaker to match to it.

For example higher efficiency speakers need less power. So something to consider is getting a higher efficency speaker and then you need less power.

Also Look at Class D for high power to low heat output. That may negate any efficiency issues if you go class D amplification.

Tektons Are also fairly efficient speaker designs so you will not need 200wps for them probably anything (depending on the model of course) from 20wpc to 100wpc 
I had a Kismet in the Stratos case.  One of the best amps I ever had and very sorry I sold it. 
You will never get your money out of that repair.  If you don't think they are the "end all" then why throw money away.  Keep that amp if it works fine and put the budget into new speakers.  That amp could run forever?
I agree, that amp has the traits you want and is a good amp.  You don’t mention your front end, but that may be worth upgrading.  Pick your speakers and enjoy.  
I live in Tucson. 50 days over 100 and counting. Run a tube amp. Not a problem. But sounds like you don't need a new amp. And the price to fix your speakers sounds like a rip off.
Ebay seller "dbbarnes3" has a pair of 2Ci's that he is parting out. The two woofers are intact and he will sell them for a reasonable offer. This makes more sense than having your old pair rebuilt.
I'd do the above and then sell them along with the RP280's. Buy a pair of used Vandersteen Quattro's or Treo's. That should satisfy your upgrade urge for speakers! 
Keep the HCA1200ii amp. It is an excellent sounding unit - certainly equal to the other three amps listed! Don't fall for the mistaken belief that an older amp is somehow inferior to a newer model!
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Contact Richard Vandersteen through their website and send in your drivers for a rebuild. The last time I checked, they charge less than $80 to refurbish the front woofer on the 2Cis. There's a video, by Vandersteen, describing how to remove the grill/sock to access the drivers. The shop charging you $400 to recone each driver either doesn't know what they are doing or they are simply dishonest. 

$400 is an outrage.  Bill Legall in PA at Miler sound charges much less or go to Vandersteen.

I am in New Jersey and can repair your gear if you want tot ship.  I can repair or modify anything.  It is not my main employment so I don't charge fellow audiogonners to much.  Let me know if I can be of any service or provide repair advice.

To clarify, the cost to repair both drivers on one speaker is $400. To achieve a consistent sound from both speakers would require restoring the same drivers on the other speaker, from what the repairman is stating. The shop also indicated that the 2Ci is both glued, stapled and screwed together, requiring additional labor fees. 

@bigkidz I appreciate the offers. 

@stereo5 Did you have any difficulty with Odyssey? I hear mostly good things, but it's a small operation and the shipping costs mount quickly if any repairs are needed. I've also read a few customer service problems, which would seem part and parcel of such a small operation. Personally, I ponder how they can back up a twenty-year warranty, going forward... Nevertheless, the overview, on most of the amps, is that they are wonderful... 

@analogvm15 what tube amp are you suggesting, and for which speakers?

I expected to read some fanning activity about the stated amps.

The parasound has been wonderful, but I keep reading about the 3-D experience and I'm wondering about the pathway there. Another consideration that has me pondering replacement is the cost of keeping the parasound on 24/7. It does not warm up particularly quickly, so I just leave it on, and I'm guessing, for a high current amp of 1995'ish, that it is eating a lot wattage while idling, at least 100 watts, but maybe much more... I suppose that's still only about $9.00 a month, definitely not the only driver for a new amp. I've looked high and low for a stat on idling power consumption (anyone else familiar with the idle power consumption of the HCA1200ii?), but I have not found one...

The Klipsch 280's are very lively, clear, engaging, but the soundstage is mostly only hinted at... this idea of 3D is part of my inspiration for looking at other options. Can any of you speak to Tektons in this regard? Is there another serious contender for quality 3D sound under $2K? 
I'm particularly interested in a 3-D soundstage. Subtlety and dynamics, authentic highs, sweet midrange and bass control are also on the top of my list.

These Clayton monoblocs are in your price range and excel at all the things you list as most important to you.  Although rated at 70Wpc, they double into 4 Ohms to 140Wpc due to their robust power supply.  They run in pure Class A, but they have a helpful low bias switch so won't run hot during idle or non-critical listening, and they've recently been recapped.  Read the reviews of any Clayton amp as they all have basically the same sonic signature and vary mainly in power output.  Best of luck. 

Odyssey has its following, just not me.  I spent a week with one of Klaus' amps and have even met with him.  His taste in sound just isn't mine...  My 2 cents.
Before proceeding further, tell us about your room.  A great deal of imaging is related to setup and proper room treatment of first reflection points and decay.  
the room is 12 x 14.5

Cathedral ceiling. One Side of the room spills into a stairwell, so the walls step back into the stair space and above... Lower bass tends to fill-out into these areas. I understand a 20hz wave takes over 50 feet to generate, and I hear lower bass notes when I’m in adjacent rooms.

The front grill of each speaker is 33" in from the back wall; the side of each speaker is 22" from the side-walls.

Across the room from the speakers, so about 12’ away (from the front of the speakers), a large curtain overhangs the window.

There is a sofa, before the window treatment; the back of the sofa is maybe 2 feet from the large window.

A large bookcase in the room. Three small tables. A pile of pillows about midway through the room, along the wall, which is constantly jumbled, roughly across from the bookcase.

There is nothing in the way of treatment around the speakers themselves. In fact, I haven’t intentionally treated the room in any way.

What other information is useful in this kind of analysis?

Also, someone mentioned the possibility of an updated pre-amp stage... I will mention that I’m running the pre-amp out of the AVR, a Marantz SR 5013.

I did take note of the Schiit Frey Tube Pre today... I hear it can help with the "holographic" presentation I’m looking for... any insights, anyone?

Thanks, in advance...

If you like the Vandies, why not have Vanderstein repair them...I'd  at least talk to them.
I don’t think it’s worth repairing the Vandies when you can buy the whole speaker in good used condition for less than the cost of repair.  And you'll still have your old speakers around for other replacement parts if needed in the future, or you can just sell them to lessen the net cost of the new used Vandies.  That's of course assuming you want to stick with that speaker. 

Frankly, I think you’re doing this backwards. Finalize what speakers you want that do all the 3D stuff, etc. you’re looking for and then find the amp and preamp (or integrated amp) that can drive them properly and that also have sonic properties you’re looking for. And yes, for heaven’s sake get that AVR preamp section out of your system as it will be a significant bottleneck to the level of sound quality you can potentially achieve. A good integrated may well be the best and most cost-effective way to go since you need both an amp and pre.

Some other speakers you might consider are Joseph Audio and ProAc just to name a couple alternatives. Best of luck.

1)  Just so you are aware, it is an old wives tale that bass waves cannot be produced in a room smaller than the wavelength (think of the great bass cars have).  It is in fact far different.  When length of the bass wave exceeds twice length of the longest room dimension, that is the frequency of the lowest resonate frequency in your room below which there are no standing waves.  This is also the frequency at which, in an ideal room, you will gain 12db per octave, but in the real world with losses due to walls, it is less than that.  In your case, this frequency is about 48hz.  

Keep in mind, the above frequency and gains are independent of boundary reinforcement.  What you are hearing is likely boundary reinforcement in the other rooms as you get close to walls.  

2)  Before you do anything else, treat your first reflection points and see what that does for your imaging, I would expect a substantial improvement.  For the moment, just treat the sidewall and floor, you can use pillows to try it out.  Below are instructions and a link to a video.  


3)  I agree, a pre-amp would likely represent a significant improvement.  The Schiit Freya + is an excellent value.  (Full disclosure, I have a Freya S and an original Saga).  If you are not going to run balanced connections, you can get the Saga + for $399, or one of the remaining closeout original Sagas from Schiit's closeout page for $199 plus the tube (this may be the audio deal of the decade and the reason I bought one for my desktop system).  

4)  Do not spend more money on your 2ci speakers.  I love Vandersteens, but your money is much better spent on purchasing a used pair of 2ce, 2ce signatures or 2ce signature II (in increasing cost order and quality order).  The 2ce was a significant upgrade from the 2ci (I have owned the 2c, 1c, and 3a sig in the past and spent considerable time listening to the 2ci, 2ce, and 2ce sig).  
It is easy to remove drivers from Vandersteen speakers. I removed the woofer and tweeter from a pair of Vandersteen 3's and sent the tweeter to Richard for repair. I believe the cost was $94 (in 2017), including the return shipping, and I had the tweeter back in less than a week. (They did the actual repair/replacement the same day the received the defective tweeter). For the woofer, I simply re-glued the existing surround which was in good shape, but had come loose from the cone.

I think there is a video, or at least printed instructions, regarding how to remove the drivers, on the services page of the Vandersteen website.
good for you reubent....I removed the tweeter and upper mid from a 5A and had them repaired at Vandersteen....not expensive.
I’m using TEKTON and DECWARE..
I prefer my Decware over my Odyssey amp..
Fills the room very well, with a beautiful sound stage..
Hey, @listening99 I’m just now reading about your repairs and issues with your Vandersteens. What has come of the repair work on them? Did you keep them or move on? I’m a little curious, as I’ve recently bought a pair of good 2ci’s but had to repair one of the tweeters and sent it to the factory last week. I am now waiting to get the repaired tweeter this week and see how it works for me. Thanks- 

I ended up surrendering the speakers to the repair shop. Four or five drivers needed repair, and I don't know how much more life I could have expected from the remaining cones and surrounds, voice coils, etc... etc... I ended up going Tekton, Moabs. They fit the bill, satisfying my need for an adventurous leap into the unknown and supplying me with a commanding and subtle full range event. Currently, I'm testing out options for amplification.

The schiit aegir came in three days ago and the evident textures are palpable, rich, present. I auditioned a class D amp for a month and instrument textures sometimes lacked life, appeared hollow, or emerged in odd shapes. Voices were often constricted. I was caught thinking the amp was somehow revealing the space in which people sang, but then it seemed more likely that the voices never properly took form, and there was a kind of pinched effect around vocals. The bass was big, so that was attractive, but something as simple as a hand clap seemed inauthentic. I've also realized that my first impressions of a piece of equipment often have me excited about "differences" that may turn out to be evidence of weakness later in an audition, so we will see how things go with the aegir.

I wish it had more power, but then I would probably abuse that power and my ears. I don't really need to be listening over 90db, but I'm confused that the aegir, which would appear to work with my speakers, to push them to something on order of 107db, according to SPL calculators, seem a little out of breath around mid nineties... As I said, this might be a good thing... I don't feel my ears growing younger...