Update: Deep Inside Vandy 2Ce [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-06-2006, 02:29 PM
If anyone is interested, findings inside the popular Vandersteen design...

I have an old pair, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I will soon have an upstairs music room for myself and the kids: Some guitars and amps. PA stuff. Dape decks. Odd stereo equipment. I plan to refurbish the Vandys and use them up there with a 1980's amp SS (Carver or Adcom). It should be pretty a cool spot.

Tearing into them, here is what I have learned about the Vandy design.

8.00 inch, 3-way.
Woofer is an 8.00 Vifa poly with OEM part number.
Radiator is 10.00 actually a full-blown woofer, unknown manufacture. It is not passive, but is electrically damped to the crossover somehow. The motor is wired to the crossover. They glued a mass disc to the cone. I suspect the two are somewhat out-of-phase to cancel interior pressure.
The mid is an odd bird. I think it may be an old Peerless model. It is a 4.00 poly cone, with no rubber surround or any other means of excursion. It is a vibrating panel. It has a cast chamber behind it.
The tweeter is easily recognizable Vifa dome with OEM numbers. They put die-cut matting around the dome.
The bass enclosure is trapeziodal and highly damped with polyfill and matting. All edges rounded.

I am listening to Neil Young right now, with power only to the mid / high portion of the crossover. If I had to guess, the mid supports the tweeter to fill in what would otherwise be a 2-way. I am not hearing a lot of mid, of which the woofer must provide a lot. The paper says 600 Hz and 5000 Hz with first-order slopes. Each driver must be overlapping with the others considerably. The mid is real curious to me.

Both of the radiators are shot. The cloth motor suspension is otherwise intact, but worn out and saggy. When I took these out of service, I thought I was hearing some mid rattle. I think now it was a goofy noise from the radiator, the voicecoil hitting the magnet assembly. I will replace with passive Daytons, it cannot make THAT much difference. It will still be a valid design.

Anyway, here are some pics.

Check out how much dust gets through the cloth sock after 15 years...


03-06-2006, 02:52 PM
My father has these speakers too. Unusual design, but I didn't realize they were this wacky!

03-06-2006, 03:03 PM
Funny, how well these really do work as advertised. I am playing the other unit now, mid and high only. Something I heard made me turn around and look. I was looking at the wrong speaker and could not tell until I got right in front of it. D'oh! No sonic clue where the sound comes from. When I thought one of the mids was shot (which it is not) I was actually hearing a reflection from the radiator in back, bouncing off the wall and through the empty sock enclosure. Standing right there, I could not tell it was not the mid. Wild.


03-06-2006, 05:40 PM
Vandersteens as a whole are well engineered speakers, it would be a mistake to assume you could just throw in an alternate driver of similar dimensions and expect any performance that matches a speaker like the 2ce. This is a speaker that has been pretty carefully designed to sound as good as the price point permits.

Its not an accident that this model is popular with audiophiles, making a good speaker that retails for under 2 grand is much tougher than it looks.

If your speaker has one or more bad drivers, consider asking Vandersteen to sell you a replacement, your model may be old enough that its not possible, but its worth an e-mail or a phone call.

03-06-2006, 06:21 PM
Actually, my wife split a woofer some years ago, and I did go to the factory for a replacement. They were excellent to work with, my price was more-or-less equal to the similar driver from a distributor like Madisound.

As far as these units: The tweeters and mids are fine. The crossovers are fine. The woofers are fine. All I really have to deal with is the Acoustic Coupler. Two of them, in fact. Perhaps I ought to go back to the factory for them, but I expect they will be around $100.00 each. Not too bad considering, but more than I really want to spend. Dayton passive radiators will be more like $25.00 and would couple nicely with the 8.00 Vifas. I can add some mass. (The added mass is what ultimately killed them) What I cannot do, however, is put an electrical load on it. For the money, I think I am willing to take the chance. A 8.00 Vifa woofer coupled to a 10.00 radiator in an optimal enclosure and lots of damping has to sound pretty nice. Its a valid design. I just will not be so flat from 28 to 35 Hz. That is the written operating range of the coupler. I think it will sound fine, just not quite what it was. If I hate it, I'll get original replacements and keep the others for future parts.

The woofer they used for the coupler was not too impressive. It appears to be a lower-cost obsolete model. Stamped frame. "Dated" magnet assembly. No manufacturer markings. It is nowhere near the quality of the other drivers. I have to think its "active" participation in the low-end performance is very limited. Otherwise, it would hamper the performance of the much nicer Vifa.

We'll see.


03-06-2006, 06:31 PM
I think the beauty of the Vandersteen is the first-order crossover and the blending and presentation of the drivers he selected. The drivers by themselves are fine, but nothing special. As far as dynamic range and detail, there are better choices out there in the market. For imaging and spacial presentation, they are pretty tough to beat.

The detailed low end I am currently getting from a pair of Dayton Reference Series / HiFi 10.00 subwoofers blows away what I ever heard from the Vandys. Not just the volume, but the detail. With Vandersteen it is all about the imagaing, and that is done in the higher frequencies. In the woofer, for sure, but only in its higher end.

I'll take a chance with the passive radiator modification.

Thanks for the input.