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Integrated and CD match w/ Vandersteen 2Ce

 

New member
Username: Studebaker

Post Number: 10
Registered: Nov-10
I'm looking for a good integrated Amplifier and CD player match for a pair of Vandersteen 2C3 Signature II's. Integrated should be under $3,500, probably 80 w/ch minimum and CD player under 2,500. I listen to a wide variety of music (jazz, classical, rock) at all volumes. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. JB
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 824
Registered: Dec-06
At that price I'd look at LFD, Bryston, Sugden (the Mystro), and Naim. Also, the new Creek Evo 5350 looks pretty good, with lots of power on tap.

I'm not sure how good a match these are with the 2C3, just that I'd start my search with these amps. I'd be surprised if at least one didn't sound fantastic.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15574
Registered: Dec-04
johnny, you got a link to those speakers? I come up empty. I know that the Naim supernait is used with the 2C to great effect (rock your head off, all night long)
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4108
Registered: May-05
Naim Nait XS and CD5xs would be the combo to beat if you're looking for a CD player IMO. The Nait XS and Naim DAC can also be had at your budget. Not a CD spinner, but it's far more versatile and better sounding. Connect multiple sources including digital output from an iPod. The Naim SuperNait is $4550, but it has an internal DAC which keeps it under budget.

The Bryston B100 with internal DAC would fit your budget too. Skip the $500 remote and get a Harmony universal remote IMO.

I'm not sure which I'd take. I'd have to have a long demo of both. I hate to say it as a Bryston owner, but the Naim options would probably win. Not in a landslide though, it would probably be one of those contraversial split decisions in boxing.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1104
Registered: Jul-07
In that price range you have a ton of options. The ones already named are excellent. I'd add Simaudio to that mix. Not sure if you can get a Mac integrated for that or not. What can you audition where you purchased your Vannies ?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Studebaker

Post Number: 11
Registered: Nov-10
Thanks guys, all great suggestions. The dealers near here who carry Vandersteen have a limited selection of electronics to audition with those speakers. Here's what I know is available: Jota, Bel Canto, Wadia, Rega, NAD, Ayre, Rotel, Audio Research, Classe and Linn.

I did audition the Vandees on the Rega Elicit and it's sister CD player. Things sounded ok, but I felt like the system was straining abit which leads me to wonder whether 80 w/ch is enough for the 2Ce's. The Vandersteen's are not that efficient and I've heard them sound better with higher end stuff in a different setting.

The Naim products intrigue me but the XS only has 70 w/ch and the Supernait at 100 w/ch is nearly $5,000. I'm not sure I can do without a new cd player since I'm not that conversant on the whole DAC technology. Can you truly and reasonably do without a cd player?

Right now I can get a great deal on the Regas, but am also wondering outloud about the NAD M3 or 150 w/ch NAD amp with an upgraded preamp.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4109
Registered: May-05
It's probably not the wattage IMO. Vandies aren't know for being too difficult. It could be the Elicit's sound. I'm a big Rega fan, and don't care much for the Elicit. It's hard to describe why. Was it a large room and it was getting pushed beyond it's comfort level? The Nait XS and SuperNait will blow the doors off the Elicit. Please don't take that like I'm pushing Naim on you. If you have a dealer nearby, you should make it a point to hear them.

The other brands are pretty good. I don't think NAD and Rotel really belong in the same discussion with the rest. People love the M3, but I just don't get it. There's not enough improvement over the Classic Series seperates to justigfy almost $1k more. On top of that, it just sounds slow, overly smooth and dull to my ears. Rotel is different, but it's just not nearly as good. Its great for the money, but in absolute terms sucks compared to what you've got access to.

If you can truly and reasonably do without a CDP is a personal thing. People have made the digital music thing way too complicated IMO. I won't go back to a CDP after setting one up (very painlessly). I use the pervious generation Apple TV. I ripped all my CD using Apple Lossless, stored them on an external hard drive, and synched them to my Apple TV's hard drive. I use my iPhone and/or my TV to control what I want to listen to. No more getting up to change discs, look for discs, think about what I want to listen to next and then forget, etc.

There are a lot of other srteamers that more or less act the same way. They've got different features and price points. The best one is the one you're most comfortable using.

Keep in mind that you can get very good results with an inexpensive transport connected to a DAC. A lot of the DACs re-clock the signal, making the transport less important.

With a DAC, you can also connect multiple sources and bring that goodness to your stereo. My XBox/DVD player never sounded so good. Same goes for my cable box. If your stereo doesn't have anything to do with your TV, this obviously isn't an issue. But if you have SACD, DVD-Audio, etc. and want to play them, you can connect your player to the DAC, thereby not limiting your catalog to redbook CDs.

Not everyone shares my views on music servers. I understand why.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Studebaker

Post Number: 12
Registered: Nov-10
Stu,
So, does the internal DAC in the Supernait accomplish all of the DAC options and possibilities you mention in your response, including connecting an inexpensive transport? I've got a line a used entry level Primare CDP for about half of retail and was considering it, possibly with the Supernait.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Studebaker

Post Number: 13
Registered: Nov-10
I just found out that the earlier audition I heard with the Vandersteen 2CE's used a 60 w/ch Jolida tube integrated with a Wadia CDP. That's what I was comparing, most likely unfairly, against the Rega Elicit and Rega CDP. The Jolida presentation was incredible but the world of tubes is completely foreign to me and I would guess the options for DAC interface, bi-amping, bi-wiring, and AVR bypass are either very cumbersome or out of the question. Any basic background on the limitations of the tube route you can share?
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4111
Registered: May-05
I don't know about how much difference there is in transports with the SuperNait. I've heard one or two with no realistic differences. My dealer said there's not much difference, but in a good way. There are a few people on the Naim forum who've had very good results with an Apple TV, which isn't a high end transport by any means.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3314
Registered: Jun-07
I agree with Stu on multiple accounts. The xs and/or supernait would rock your world, but so would the latest Bryston 100sst2. Both bring a totally different view to the music so it would come down the your preference. I dig both, and am really enjoying the little Nait 5i at the moment.

I am a Rega fan when it comes to sources but I find all of their integrated amps to be lifeless. Mind you I have only heard the Mira and Brio.

Weather you love or hate NAD and Rotel, neither one of them should be even mentioned in the same breath as Naim, Bryston or Jolida.

Personally, I couldn't see myself buying another cd player ever again. Especially spending thousands of dollars on one when I have seen the accessibility digital serving/streaming has to offer. The flexibility is endless. Like Stu said, a DAC can clock multiple sources and IMO usually comes at a better value dollar for dollar. I think at this time a full fledge Media Server with all the whistles would be far overkill for you and being as you would be new into the world of digital only music an easy to use Media Streamer would be best suited for your application. It sounds like you would ideally be only using it for music so a streamer would be dandy. I could list Media Streamers all day but you would want to find one that suits you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13461
Registered: Feb-05
I mostly agree with my friends Stu and Nick here with a couple of exceptions. And one really isn't an exception. I find that the XS may be better even than the Supernait. Livelier and with more sparkle the XS isn't quite as smooth or digitally versatile but it just flat rocks. The area where I will differ with the fellas is with respect to Rotel and NAD vs one of the above brands. Certainly they don't compare to Naim and Bryston, espcially the latest offerings from Rotel which are about as gray and lifeless as you get. However I would take an NAD amp over Jolida every day of the 7 day week. More balanced, reliable and lively. NAD integrated amps have become the industry standard for budget amps and Jolida the poster child for poor build quality and reliability.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3315
Registered: Jun-07
Heard a little 316bee last Saturday Art and it rocked for the money. A huge improvement over the 315bee. My dealer told me the 316bee's are selling like hot cakes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4441
Registered: Feb-07
How much they going for Nick?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3316
Registered: Jun-07
I can nab one up new for around 300 David. The NAD sound is really improving since my 272 amp days. It would appear they are making a huge attempt to pull their budget king title back.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 338
Registered: Oct-10
Right now Denon is making a 100 anniversary edition integated amp for $2500. 80 wpc. I heard it. It sounds great!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3317
Registered: Jun-07
I would think Denon is going to have trouble selling their house sound for 2500 when there is so many amazing integrated amps in that price range. Just my opinion.

I see an Naim Nait XS on CAM right now for 1900.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 833
Registered: Dec-06
Companies like Denon and Sony have the capability of making great products. The Sony ES line of CD players seems to be very well regarded by audiophiles. It just depends on whether they want to do it or not...most of the time they don't, and it tarnishes the brand, and as Nick describes that makes it difficult to part with $2,500.

I bet this is one of the good ones though, the amp looks pretty sweet:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Denon-PMA-A100-Integrated-Amp
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4115
Registered: May-05
I'd argue that Sony has the capability of making the best sounding gear in the world. Who has more capital for R&D than they do? Who has more money to build a state of the art factory than they do? It's not because they can't, it's because it doesn't fit their business model.

Denon's got a ton of money and resources. They own McIntosh and a few others. I'd say give it a fair demo if it's easily accessible. I don't care much for the Denon sound, but I've never heard a high end attempt from them either. I'm pretty sure they're capable. If I were to look into starting a home theater on a budget, Denon would be on my list of stuff to seriously consider. If I were spending $2500 on an integrated, I'd give their stuff a fair chance if it was available. I wouldn't go out of my way for it by any means though.
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