Vandersteen 1Ci Loudspeaker

Written by on 06/12/2012 in Latest Auditions - No comments

It has been a while, well actually a considerable while of what must be fifteen years since I’ve last had a happy meeting with these familiar friends of mine.

You see, my father originally started importing the Vandersteen loudspeaker range back in 1993/4. In those days I sold quite a bit of Vandersteen . It was of course before the dawn of the stereo age. Shortly after, hometheater ruthlessly dethroned stereo music reproduction in just about all electronics stores world wide. My father had to give up the agency since their dealer base was not geared to maintain the promotion of good music through stereo. Most shops converted to noise production instead of noise reduction, a fundamental aspect of high fidelity.

Hometheater done the South-African way, and these delicately voiced Vandersteen loudspeakers don’t go together nicely. There’s no rocket science to it. AV Receivers (most in any case) produce nothing but distortion through not only two, but five speakers! (I hear these days some squeeze seven or is it eleven?!) These monstrosities deserve the tall-boy resonators they get thrown together with in the shops.

Vandersteens are made for music. You will not find these on a hometheater noise floor. They simply don’t make noise! Instead they make music like Beethoven, Wagner, Vivaldi et al come to sparklingly clear life when carefully matched to a good stereo amplifier and dedicated music source.

Their presentation is clean, open, transparent, tonally advanced toward the ideal of being beautifully neutral over a wide frequency response and the new Model 1Ci seem quicker too than I remember their earlier incarnation, the Model 1B.

It may seem a bit unfair to hook up a set of R14000 speakers to a R300,000 amplifier combo, but let me tell you, these speakers are capable of expressing every nuance those mighty reference amplifiers are famed for. This takes some doing at the price.

Most hometheater tall-boys of similar and higher cost will simply swamp the delicacies in reference quality amplifiers’ sound with bloated mud and screeching sibilance. It’s quite simple. You just don’t do a McDonald’s burger with a deliciously aged Merlot. Yet the Vandersteens being hamburger-like in Audio Research company does a mighty fine job complimenting that Merlot!

There is a definite place on the market for Vandersteen 1Ci loudspeakers. With ever more rushed professional life comes the increasing need for rejuvenation. Music rejuvenates and the awareness is growing despite the decline in CD sales. Vinyl record sales are soaring as is high-res music downloads. A perfect partner to these outstanding stereo music sources is a pair of Vandersteen loudspeakers. They are soothingly musical transducers.

They drive easily too. So go out and do what we did twenty five years ago when we were kids and buy a NAD integrated, record player or DAC and start listening to what good music can do for your soul. You’ll be glad you did.

Various finishes are available – Please contact us for more details.

Tested with:

Linn Sondek record player
Audio Research Reference amps
Sony BDP-S350 Blu-Ray
Benchmark DAC1
NAD 3020 circa ’81

About the Author

Audio Engineer, Critic & Retailer twenty-seven years in the making.

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