Vandersteen Audio's Model Seven Mk II loudspeaker System; Brinkmann Balance 2-Arm 33rd Anniversary Edition Turntable; Harmonic Resolution Systems Rack, and AudioQuest Cabling

The characteristic—perhaps I should say inimitable—Vandersteen midrange was in evidence in a system that paired a Brinkmann Audio front end and amplification (detailed below) with Vandersteen ($63,999/pair). The top was quite lively, which made for an extremely exciting listen to an LP of Jeff Beck's extraordinary "Brush with the Blues." Highs were also haunting on the vinyl version of Lou Reed's hilarious (to me) 2003 recording "Vanishing Act." I didn't write down which digital tracks were played, but a return to vinyl with Vanessa Fernandez's "I Want You" revealed that the system also had excellent slam.

Filling out the system were Brinkmann's Balance 2-Arm 33rd Anniversary Edition turntable with two 12.1 tonearms ($64,990 for table plus one tonearm; price for the second not supplied), Nyquist Mk II streaming DAC ($17,990), Edison Mk II phono preamp ($13,990), Marconi Mk II preamp ($13,990), and Mono power amplifiers ($19,990/pair). Also essential to the system were Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) VXR rack system ($33,789 for stand only) with M3X2 isolation bases ($3195/each) plus VXR 21" solid brace insert ($2695/pair), AudioQuest cabling, and AudioQuest Niagara power conditioning.


On static display was Brinkmann's Voltaire Integrated amplifier ($TBD), which, when it's released toward the end of this year, will become the highest level integrated in their line. When equipped with the optional Nyquist DAC module, this Roon-ready baby will allow streaming and playback of resolutions up to PCM 24/384 and DSD256 and unfold and render MQA.

Voltaire's optional phono module will be released sometime in 2020, but you'll have to choose: There's room for the DAC or the phono module but not both. That's another way of saying that, in this instance, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Take that, Voltaire!


No matter which module you choose, if you choose any, you'll end up with an integrated whose preamp section is a miniature version of Brinkmann's hybrid Marconi, complete with military grade tubes. The amplifier section, in turn, was described as an upscale version of Brinkmann's smaller integrated. The Voltaire will be able to handle lower impedances than the company's current monoblocks, down at least to 2 ohms.

Also due is the Taurus direct-drive turntable ($15,000), which sits somewhere between the belt-drive Balance and direct-drive Bardo. The Taurus will offer wireless speed control.

JBLMVBC's picture

VXR rack system ($33,789 for stand only) with M3X2 isolation bases ($3195/each) plus VXR 21" solid brace insert ($2695/pair)...

Hopefully the idea of the M3X3 retailing next year at $5931/each will blow away the M3X2... No real product, just the idea...