Entering the world of high-end audio can be an exhilarating and terrifying experience, in that order. The exhilaration comes after first experiencing the jaw-dropping performance of a cutting-edge audiophile system. Then comes the horror of realizing that what you just heard probably costs as much as your home, or at least your car. Typically, one of two things happens at this point. Either the customer leaves the store shaking his head, never to return, or the customer tries to act calm while staggering back to the smaller audition rooms where the entry-level equipment is located. If he's lucky, there he will find a pair of Vandersteen 1c loudspeakers.
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Richard Vandersteen has a long history of helping budding audiophiles get their feet wet with quality pieces, such as his entry-level $995 per pair 1c. The 1c utilizes an eight-inch woofer, a one-inch metal alloy dome tweeter and, like all Vandersteen speakers, a first order crossover network ensuring time and phase integrity of the signal. Phase is simply the motion of the driver in relation to time and Vandersteen is a firm believer that it should not be tinkered with by an overly complex crossover network. Time simply means that the sounds from the two (in this case) drivers arrive at the ear at the same time. In theory, preserving these as the original signal intended results in more precise imaging.
Having spent time with the 1c, it's difficult to argue with these concepts. The 1c is a remarkably open-sounding speaker that provides some truly amazing imaging and makes great music. If one is looking to rattle the walls, this is not the speaker for you, as there is only so much a single eight-inch woofer can do. However, if you are like most budget-conscious audio enthusiasts, then the virtues of the 1c will far outweigh its limitations.
Read about the high points and low points of the Vandersteen 1c on Page 2.