Time to move UP, speaker-wise...

My vandersteen 2ci’s dropped dead after a couple decades of sweet service. Over the past year, I’ve had mixed success with a pair of reference premier Klipsch speakers, but now I’m wanting something a far more subtle, perhaps a touch more sweet, and definitely able to reveal more sound-field information. Perhaps I’m being redundant... I’ve been intrigued by the open baffle concept and I’ve read some reviews on Spatial Audio products as well as Tekton’s open baffle offering. There are fans of the spatial, and then I discovered there are people that are blown away by the Tekton open baffle design. Tekton is also running a special on the Electron SE @$3000, which I feel inclined to try... Another area of interest is the Ohm speaker lineup... can any of you speak to them, and particularly how they compare to Klipsch Heritage speakers, or open baffle designs, or Tekton's...?

I have to say, I’m die-hard for the musical information, for the layers of musical fabric. Wolf_garcia claims the heresy III is the best $1500 he ever spent, in a discussion addressing open-baffle designs, among others, and so I’m wondering where to put my bills... What should I check out? It’s time to move up. I’m thinking $3300 is about my limit... I’m running 80 watts per channel from the nuforce sta200, a schitt saga pre, Cambridge transport.
As a fellow Vandy owner, all I can say is to audition a pair of Treo’s. Quatro's would be the best move, since you have the built in subs.

I listened to the Ohm's at the NY audio show this fall. To be frank, they were a bit of a disappointment. I liked them when I heard them years ago, but this time they sounded muffled and lifeless. I think speaker design has moved forward, and Ohm has stayed the same. IMHO.
I haven't heard the Tekton's, but have listened to Zu's. I was thinking a full range driver without crossovers would be the cat's meow, but I ended up realizing Vandersteen made a better product. The Zu's were close, but just missed the mark in subtly.
I found some sweet speakers in the price range you're shopping, doubt you'd like em tho'.
If you can spare time, then you may consider attending Axpona 2020 to listen to various speakers yourself.


I made a registration for it two hours ago.

I am a Spatial Audio X3 owner and I couldn’t be happier.  And the advice about visiting the Spatial forum on AC is a good idea. Lots of information if you are interested.


Is there anywhere you can audition Golden Ear speakers? IMHO, they outshine many more expensive speakers. In any case, you really should listen before you buy.
Agree with ncarv983, listen to all prospective speakers. The perfect speaker is what sounds best to your ears when driven by equipment similar to yours.
Goldenear, lots of speaker for the money, I have the Triton 2s, very pleased.  Tube amp and preamp...
Love, love, love my Tekton double impact monitors, uber efficient, solid, full and powerful but detailed with excellent soundstage. If you have the space go for the full sized Double impacts w/10"sx2
I also still own a Nuforce sta 200 and Schiit Saga. Zu Audio has a pair of Druid Mark lV speakers for $2499.00. I think they would be a nice match.
Vandy since 1977 and still going strong!
enjoy your quest and the music!!!!

If only you had a relatively higher budget, i would say check out Cube audio speakers. 
I have experienced many speakers in my setup, changing brands and increasing the amount I'm spending every time hoping to get satisfied; from focal aria 936, to German physiks unlimited, to Wilson audio Sabrina, Kef reference 5s, until recently i switched to a Cube audio Nenuphar after hearing it over few months at a friend's house. Now that's it my own setup at last, i can say I have found my dream speaker that does everything i always wanted from a speaker. Bags of Details and information, very natural, realistic sounding (having no cross over does wonders), highly efficient that i could power it with a SET amp (on the way to replace my gryphon diablo 300), emotional level connection is very high despite its ability to reveal crazy details and layers. Give Cube audio room a visit next exhibition, you would be amazed. There are smaller models, doesn't have to be the nenuphar by the way.
I appreciate the responses, thus far... I've looked back into the Vandy scene, and the price of the new Vandy Treo CT at $9000 and the Quattro at $15,500 is prohibitive. I love Vandersteen, but I'm going to need to draw the line at around $3,000'ish. 

@steve59 - please describe your finding... what makes them 'sweet'?

@ncarv and @fastninja12 - I appreciate the nods in the direction of
Golden Ear. I know the local shop carries GE and I was intrigued, years ago, but never made my way to an authentic audition. I will put this on my list.

@gratefuleric - I have a call in to Tekton, to discuss options. I'm wanting to learn more about the OB Sigma, the Enzo XL, and the Electron SE. Al three are on sale, at this time. 

@coachpoconnor - Have you experience with the Druid Mark IV?

I've looked up PureAudioProject @willfolf and I have seen a review of some of their tech some weeks back, and I recall this as an option that drives expense beyond my limit... maybe they have some sales?

@tomic601 - Which model and do you have any model recommendations, given my price point? Have you compared the Vandys to newer Klipsch or, by chance, Tekton speakers? 

Thanks for hopping into this conversation. I found the guys at the local shop seem far less educated than I would have expected, or perhaps not very willing to share. They carry some decent machinery, but seem hesitant to open up about preferences; I think this is because they fear pushing something on someone when subjectivity is the ultimate rule of law. Still, it's sound-staging and subtlety that I crave, so can't we agree on the notion of a deep or full soundstage and layers of musical information? 
Take a look at the Philharmonic BMR Monitors currently being built by Salk Sound. They're in your price range. I Haven't found a bad review yet. It's a Dennis Murphy design.
Emerald Physics also has an open baffle speaker line. I have many happy hours listening to the KCIIs

At this moment they are planning to move the warehouse and are offering whatever is in stock at 50% off, and I think that includes shipping!

Please, please, please learn from my mistakes! Never purchase a speaker without hearing them first. I’ve made this mistake with Tekton previously and now with Spatial. No matter how much a product is hyped only YOUR ears can tell you what is right for you.

I would say if you liked the Vandy sound - which apparently you did after owning the 2ci’s for a couple decades - there is a set of Treo CT’s for sale at AudioConnection in Verona, NJ for $5995. I think you would be very pleased with them.

These won’t last long....


I am not affiliated with this sale in any way.

I would look for a pair of used Magnepan 3.7i. They can be had for $4000, maybe less if you're lucky. Nothing sounds sweeter or produces better highs than the ribbon tweeter. And you won't believe the difference between Maggie 3.7is and your old Vandys. But for optimal performance, you'll need some power and a sub, for sure. One thing about Maggies is that they are a value speaker. $6000 Maggies are frequently favorably compared with speakers in the $15k - $20k range. 
OP - IF you want new from dealer you have two Vandersteen options in your price range, the VLR paired with a discontinued model 2 sub. You could also get into the fabulous VLR signature for $3k and get the carbon tweeter derived from the 7. Add a small REL sub and away you go with the soundstage, immediacy and seem less fatigue free sound Vandersteen is famous for. Or the model 2 has been refined and reworked nearly continuously since it’s launch - you should listen to latest variant it throws a massive sound stage and w acoustic coupler plays low. I own Apogee, Klipsh, Quad, Thiel and two pairs of Vandersteen’s currently- I never have anything bad to say about choices. 
Where are you located ?

I concur with the Vandersteen VLR  Wood recommendation.  Beautiful, fatigue free sound and excellent, spacious sound field.  Need to be placed close to a rear wall for bass reinforcement purpose.  Considering a move up the Vandersteen line.  Feel free to PM if interested.
The new model Vandy's of yours, are 3K, I believe, if this is what you like. Audionoobie makes the best point....listen to as much as you can. You cannot trust a reviewer, nor another listener, as everyone of us hears differently, and wants different things from our systems. 50 plus years, I have been an advocate for Klipsch " Heritage " speakers, feeling, that speakers of all kinds, make compromises, and I needed to weigh those compromises, with attributes, that are important to me. The greatest information an audio buyer can have, is to know, and / or have some idea, what qualities of musical playback, are desired and are most important, for a sound system, and this is true, at every price point. Many of my clients throughout the years, found Klipsch Heritage to be amazing, after my introduction of them, to them ( especially with my modifications and upgrades ). However, many of them, preferred Maggies, Vandies, Martin Logans, etc. It is all personal. Room size / acoustics, musical tastes, volume levels, sitting arrangements, all play a part. No one can tell you what is best for you. I can only tell you, what is best for me, and why.......I am extremely familiar with your Nuforce amplifier, and it is glorious, for what it is. Enjoy ! MrD.
@audionoobie what was it you didn’t like about the Spatials? I’m just curious.
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Tomic is correct.
A pair of Vandy VLR's with a sub or two can be a killer deal.
When I was at Audioconnection, Johnny Rutan installed a set of AQ William Tell cables to the VLR's, and all I can say is 'Wow'. Those little speakers behaved like full range floor standers without subs.

I have a pair of VLR's for my office system with a pair of HSU subs, and I couldn't be happier- Well...., the Treo's in my Living Room do best them, but for the money/size, those little bookshelf speakers perform beyond their price point. In fact, they replaced a pair of Zu Omen Bookshelf speakers. The Zu's, though well made, just didn't have the charisma the VLR's possess.
BTW, where are you located?

I've been super curious about these.


I had a pair of Decware DM945's which I loved, but wanted more bass so traded them for a pair of 1977 Cornwalls, which I also love, albeit for different reasons.

The Lii Audio Crystal 10's look really interesting to me. Full range single driver, no crossover etc.

Interesting that these are the first speakers made by someone other than Decware that they sell. That says a lot!

Wish I could audition them...

For the OP, I’m just trying to help here and I have been where you are

You are getting many recommendations for speakers but @listening99 maybe I missed something but could you please list your system? Amplification type and power? Without it IMO all this is sort of blind advice.

And looking at the big picture really if you had the vandys for 2 decades and you lived 2 years with klipsch reference, before getting anything I would wait 3 months, follow @shkong78 proposal and visit axpona 2020 to listen to the speaker list you could get from this thread. Prepare your playlist of well known musical program in advance and take it with you, at audio shows audio manufacturers will play carefully selected source content well mixed by good audio engineers that will sound good in "their systems" but it may not correlate to your music preferences.

Also during at after axpona you could go to audiogon and check for all the used speakers on sale from people who just purchased new speakers at axpona, you will be able to find quite a few.

And like @audionoobie stated don’t make the mistake of purchasing without listening first, especially speakers.

Last but not least consider in your decision your room size, shape, ceiling height, floor/wall materials (tile, wood, carpet?) some speakers you could adjust and tune the room response

Although your budget (these days) won’t allow too many choices enjoy the process, it could be exciting.

Now that I think of it you will incur in an extra expense with axpona, there is a Florida audio show before maybe closer to where you live but it is really a very small venue, this is their second year don’t know if it will be bigger this time. Regardless, even with the expense I think is still worth it going to an audio show.

+1 for listening with your own ears.  
For your researching consider ATC.  I have the SCM 11 v2 from Music Direct.  I think I paid around $2000 or so.  The SCM 19 are higher up the chain.  Used they should be your price range.  
Two comments made in your orig post that drove me to this recommendation- your nuforce digital amp and sound field detail.  On the first point, I have a Wyred 4 Sound digital power driving my ATCs and have really enjoyed the combo.  Second, ATCs are known for the characteristics you’re describing.  Reading reviews, you’ll notice those words you used in your post used in the reviews.  
Happy hunting!
joshelston is quite right about ATC. Only problem is you may
lose 1/2 your media due to inadequate recording quality
making them unlistenable.

Nobody mentioned Sonus Faber's Venere line. Last month I listened
to a pair of used standmounts by SF vs the G.E.One? SF was better
but $1,700 vs $900 if memory serves.

These costs are well under your $3k budget. The sound is far more musical than the other brands you have been reading about.

The British have it way over the US in terms of great sound.

I need to make a correction from above. The Nuforce STA 200 is not a digital amp. It is an AB amp, producing 80wpc, into an 8 ohm load. It uses the same circuit as the JOB, developed by, created by, and licensed by, Goldmund. Lots of available reading material available on the net, which, is mostly positive. Enjoy ! MrD.
the Nuforce and more expensive Job amp are great, we have a Job in the studio and the mobile recording rack, neutral and good.
yes, the latest Model 2 signature from Vandersteen will  throw a wide and deep soundstage, imaging is ALL about low diffraction, time and phase. Richard continues to invest in the model 2 and it still makes best value lists for a true audiophile speaker. A relatively easy load, you can drive them with a good quality amp. I have heard them vs the new Forte with a Rogue magnum integrated, The Forte are the better 2 D rockers and the Vandersteen are more 3D musical to my ear and taste, but yes...taste does matter and vary, which may explain the dealer waffle...Remember, I am not just a Vandy fanboy, I own 8 pairs of speakers, alas none of them are Tekton...

enjoy your search and the music. best to you

As a person who owned three different Vandersteen models over 20 years if you enjoyed your time with your 2ci's then your safest bet is to stay within the 2 series and buy a newer version.  There is a pair of 2CE Sig II's listed on Audiogon now for $1400 and honestly that is a steal.  I personally would stay far away from Tekton and as to Spatial they are a great speaker from a good company but they are different from Vandersteen.  I have owned a pair of M3 TM's and if set up properly they are very good but for you could be a risk that you may or may not like. So stick with what you know.

Try reading Steve Deckart's forum posts on his Big Betsy speaker design. Extraordinarily informative from the man behind Decware:
Hello all who are contributors of this thread... I've studied the speakers, but only in text form, associated with each recommendation. Some of the stand-mounts seem to reach into the lower registers, although the Vandersteen stand mounts would invariably require subwoofer support. The top of the line VLR, with the added cost of one or more subwoofers, would push me quickly into the $4K range. The VLR series peters out around 64hz.

The Dynaudio special 40 looks very attractive, but drops only to 41hz, also requiring a subwoofer. I'm definitely attracted to a full-range sound.  
@aexis1 - what is your experience with this speaker and how would you compare it with Vandersteen or Tekton.

@winnardt - love the Maggies notion, but they are coming in, at minimum, around $4k, before any shipping is paid, and then they require A LOT OF JUICE! Currently, I'm running the Nuforce STA200 @ about 80wpc. It's a sweet amp for what it is, but I don't see it pushing big Maggies. I'm not in a position to develop a massive revision of my entire system, certainly not in the short-term. Again, my limit is right around $3000.00 for new speakers.

I will note that I do have a subwoofer, the Martin Logan dynamo 700. I could hazard it as a mate to the Vandy VLR option, but I'm skeptical about the mating and I really do want to land on something of a final solution here. This is why I've pondered the Tekton option, where the double-impact comes in at $3000.00 and is embroidered with two-10" woofers, each speaker. The Electron SE is also on sale, said to drop to 20hz, made of higher grade components. I would love to hear anyone who can speak a comparison between Tekton and Vandersteen. I don't so much need to hear that one is "better" but what characteristics are heightened in the one vs. the other.

@jackd - to follow up, what is your experience with Tekton? You claimed I should stay away - what experiences have you had and with which speakers? Also, I did check out the advert for the 2ce II signature - looks wonderful. The various Vandy comments have definitely ignited some intrigue about what I might be leaving behind there, and I understand the newer iteration is probably quite an improvement over my 1992'ish model. Nevertheless, I don't really need to "stick with what I know" as I often find that unsung avenues are provocative. Which Vandy models have you owned, Jackd?

@gadios - the Sonus Fabers appear to be Italian made, or am I missing something? You seem to point to a discontinued line... the implication that I buy used... apparently this presents me with an impetus to research the line... You mention that these are especially musical speakers... The images of them depict an highly aesthetic offering... What other speakers can you contrast them with?

Finally @luisma31 - I'm working with a Schiit Saga (Tube and SS model), a modi DAC, a Cambridge audio transport and the Nuforce ST200. I had the Vandy 2CI's but found four dead drivers when I opened them up again, after my most recent move. Had them since 1992 and they played well till about 2013. Now, I've got a pair of Klipsch RP280F's and I may have made a mistake with them because I would count them largely responsible for the emergence of tinnitus. I don't play especially loud (at all) but they have a big glare in the upper registers, on some recordings and they almost always cause listening fatigue, even after a few songs. They have some potent qualities - probably to potent - but I think there is a problem with that speaker. 

Thanks so much for all the thoughtful feedback and I'm certainly open to hearing more. I think I'm a little caught in the Tekton excitement, but I want to ground that in some honest feedback (from owners), wherein a contrast can be made to other speakers, as a result of direct experience. I like the idea of something fresh (the Tekton's) but then the new 2ce is obviously quite fresh, some twenty-seven years later. I'm not particularly impressed by the lower efficiency of the Vandy - I had run my old one's off a paramount HCA1200ii @205 wpc and they were happy, but with only 80wpc now, I keep feeling the pull of efficiency, as I see in the Tekton... 

Thanks again, people. 

There’s a pair of 1st gen Joseph Audio Pulsars at US Audiomart for $3650 (list $7700).  Some of the best imaging/soundstage you’ll find anywhere and deep bass for a speaker of its size.  Read the reviews if you haven’t already.  Paired with your sub this could be a killer full-range system.  Best of luck. 

I have never owned a pair of Tekton's but have listened to two different models at a friends house.  I was not enamored with the sound and certainly not with the looks but that is my opinion and yours could be different but I wouldn't buy them blind unless you buy used where the depreciation has already occurred. Another issue to me is the constant turnover in models. Where continued innovation is good I think he has gone a bit overboard.  As to Vandersteens I have owned 2CE Sigs, 3A Sigs and  early Treo C T's all paired with a pair of 2WQ subs.  
Grow with sophisticated goals in mind?
1 Perhaps start slow with the latest 2 Sig series with serious refinement since yours.
2 The Hi-Pass Bi-amping advantage with Vandersteen plays an enormous advantage in performance growth while maintaining ((full range phase and time response)) as Jack d above mentions. When you hi-pass with any Vandersteen 2WQ / Sub 3, Quatro CT, newest Kento, and Seven series, this formula with its tunable analog in-room compensation concept takes the room out of the picture speakers disappear.
4 relieves the heavy lifting of your main amplifier dramatically improving clarity and transparency of the whole system.,
5 Further allowing Bass Q adjustments to your preference in your room.
When its all together we experience a rare genuine density when listening to recorded music,
Best JohnnyR Vandersteen dealer

On another recent thread ( amp thread, I believe ), someone was using a pair of Nuforce STA 200’s in vertical biamp configuration, on his Vandy 2ci sigs ( a fairly new pair ), and is quite happy with the results. Just an fyi. The Klipsch RP 280 F has a very resonant horn assembly ( imo ), and if you were to remove them, and damp the backs of the horns with Dynamat, much of your complaint with them will be gone. As far as liking them, or the sound of any speaker, it is always a personal opinion, and spending 3K on a pair, without hearing them, should be a no no. Happy holidays, peace and good health to all. Always, MrD.
Dropped dead? What does that mean, really? My initial thought when I first read the thread, other than maybe wanting something different/new, why not fix what you have if you have enjoyed them for so long, certainly more than likely, a cheaper option?

Maybe things have moved on some as the Vandies have had continuous improvements to them over time, but....doesn’t make what you have bad or worse.
@frazeur1 makes a good point, a call to Vandersteen for a service quote might be in order.
Four drivers were found dead, across the two Vandersteen 2CI's. I could have had them repaired but I doubted that the investment would return the sound to its former glory. I did send them in to the local shop and the cost of repairs would have been quite a bit higher than I could justify, given a now twenty-seven year old set of speakers. I thought it best to take the money and apply it to something new... 
When you consider Vandersteen is constantly updating even their older models- without adding a new name or designation- it might possibly be an upgrade if you were to have them repaired by Mr. V.
Though, to be honest, I would move to the newer series, like the Treo or Quatro. They are much more refined, and look nicer,too.
The newer Vandersteens are highly attractive, but the Treo, new, comes in around $9000.00. That's quite a jump, from my $3000 limit. I have always been able to do amazingly well in the lower price ranges, and as I don't have buckets of cash and no longer believe in paying for things (except for cars and homes) on credit, I will bide my time until the right choice emerges. 

I did strongly consider fixing the blown drivers, but that possibility has now passed. The speakers were "donated" to the repair shop in my city. 

On other fronts, I spent about three hours "dynamating" (not dynamiting) my two RP280F's. The sound has improved. Glare has dropped away, at least by 30-50%, maybe more. Some 'glare' now sounds like the very instrument it had been hiding. I am going to play a bit more with positioning, which has always been huge in pulling the best from these speakers. They are dynamic, but I had an experience yesterday, on XMAS, that left me pondering a stronger midrange speaker voicing.... I went home visited the family, and a guest was in attendance who happened to be equipped with her violin. She's a professional violinist, and as she pulled out her instrument I asked if she could play any one-stringed Paganini; he was known to notch strings and play the final minutes of his presentations furiously on one-string, a kind of rock-n-roll style climactic event. The request was more to boast a finely (self-regarded) detail in memory than any sort of comprehensive appreciation for violin greats. Still, she quickly sat and immediately played two section of two Paganini pieces. The vibrancy of the instrument in the room put the reproduction of violin work in a CD I listened to today to shame. The violin almost didn't need to be in the recording, so subtle a position did it occupy. I feel that a more vibrant mid-range section would entirely change the character of the music I"m hearing. By contrast, I took "New Moon Daughter" (Cassandra Wilson) to the local stereo shop and played it on a pair of Forte III's and the midrange popped. the relationship between the acoustic instruments and the vocalist swapped places entirely. It was not a small change from my RP280F speakers... 
Nice donation!!!!

really why not call Richard and see what’s changed in your old model 2

he might just tell you about a very special violin that belongs to a model 7 owner, the 2 shares many design objectives 

sounds like you are enjoying the journey !!!

I am enjoying the journey, and so here's an update... after more hours than I want to admit, I've made a decision. The Tekton Moabs. Yes, the ring of "please please please" make sure to listen to them before buying was in my ears and yet I don't have a reasonable way to make that happen at this stage in the game. What I did accomplish was three talks with the six moons reviewer of the Moab, who has also reviewed most of the speakers in the Tekton line-up. He's also a fan of CODA amplification, as well as ARIC amps/pre-amps. He purchased the top end Tekton flagship model, the Ulfberht, but claimed the Moabs are perhaps better in many applications. The somewhat novel technology (numerous small weight drivers 'tuned' in consideration for the moving mass of possible instruments) makes some kind of sense to me, but not as much as the crossover design and time symmetry of the Vandersteen made sense to me, back when I bought the 2ce's in my 20's. I keep looking at other speakers in contrast to the Moabs and I find the "lack of risk" factor that I DO NOT find in the Moab. They cut something of an edge, both as unusually tall and wide, which must convert into soundstage impact. Four twelves, aimed in my general direction, for example. THIRTY, highly tuned tweeters, aimed at my face, for instance. There will be drivers come up from below, coming down from above, all in one package, standing 69" tall. Someone called the 2ci's polite and I think that's right, and I also think that while I was often impressed by the clarity of the 2ce soundstage, and I would find myself sizing up things within the sound field, there was definitely a sense of removal, of NOT being there. I want to "BE" there, with the musical event, for a NOT insane price, but a touch nutty.  

Just this last weekend, I sat in a jazz club, on the coast, THE SOUND WAVES COMING OFF THE cymbals were pure... 

By the way: anyone have an appliance dolly, I can borrow.?. Moab weights - 135lb each.

If for whatever reason the Moabs don’t do it for you, the Spatial M5/M3 Sapphires would be worth a look and offer a 60-day return policy.  Best of luck with the Moabs.