Vandersteen Model Seven Mk.II loudspeaker & M7-HPA monoblock power amplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Source: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge.
Digital Sources: Antipodes DX Reference and Aurender N10 music servers; Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; dCS Rossini disc player with Rossini Clock; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini running OS10.10.1, iTunes 11, Pure Music 2.0, Audirvana Plus 1.5.10; PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A converter; dCS Vivaldi upsampling D/A system; AudioQuest JitterBug, UpTone Audio ReGen USB cleaner-uppers; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier, Ayre Acoustics KX-R Twenty line preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Pass Labs XA60.5 monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: KEF LS50.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Coffee (with PS Audio), Belkin Gold (with dCS Vivaldi and Rossini), USB, Canare AES/EBU. Interconnect: AudioQuest Wild Blue, Cardas Clear (both balanced). Speaker: Vandersteen/AudioQuest DBS solid silver (with Model Sevens); AudioQuest K2 (with KEFs). AC: Kubala-Sosna Elation!, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; 24" Celestion Si stands (with KEFs); Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1 AC line conditioners (hard drive, computers). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.— John Atkinson

COMPANY INFO
Vandersteen Audio, Inc.
116 W. Fourth Street
Hanford, CA 93230
(559) 582-0324
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
ctsooner's picture

What a great review of an amazing powered speaker system with what sounds like some first ever experiences, especially with some of your own recordings. I must admit though that after reading the conclusion I wondered why you withheld any recommendation for this system. I read your first paragraph and you spoke about getting more that you expected. After rereading your review, I get that same feeling you had with the original 2's. Can you highly recommend this system? Thanks I value your response.

John Atkinson's picture
ctsooner wrote:
After rereading your review, I get that same feeling you had with the original 2's. Can you highly recommend this system?

Yes Indeed. It broke my heart when the shipping company picked it up last week to be returned to Vandersteen. And a full-range version of the Vandersteen M7-HPA monoblock would be a wondrous amplifier indeed!

But there is a certain relief in being back in the land of audio components that I can actually afford!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

ctsooner's picture

John, thanks so much for responding and sharing your thoughts. The best thing about Vandersteen is that they DO have affordable for nearly anyone as they have a trickle down, signature sound. I converted to them a few years ago as a lower cost of admission and am very happy with them.

Sea Otter's picture

Good to see a designer sticking with his inordinate design criteria, and taking it to it's logical extremes. I believe he has developed what may be the best cone construction in the industry with his carbon/balsa drivers.

While his speakers aren't quite my cup of tea, I certainly respect him as one of the most diligent and talented designers in the industry.

Alpinist's picture

I recently purchased the Vandersteen Model Seven Mk II Speakers and Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps from John Rutan at Audio Connection. John positioned the speakers in my family room using laser sighting and tuned the speakers' powered subwoofers with their 11-band equalization to give an even response in my room across their frequency range.

The ability to tune the bass on these speakers has made them integrate into my room better than any of the other speakers I have previously owned. Consequently, the bass creates the perfect cohesive foundation for the midrange and treble in my listening room. John was also nice enough to loan me an Audio Research Reference CD-9 Digital Player, Audio Research Reference 6 Preamp and AudioQuest Fire Interconnects.

The synergy of the Vandersteen speakers and mono amps, combined with the Audio Research preamp and digital player, has resulted in the highest sound quality I have ever heard and it is occurring right in my non-dedicated listening room!

The Vandersteen/ARC/AQ system is producing amazing tonality. Midrange body, weight and bloom. Tremendous ease without a hint of solid state or digital edge. Vocals and instruments are holographic and float in space with wonderful separation between vocal and instrumental lines. The soundstage, depending on the recording, can be very wide and deep, extending well beyond the walls of my room. Bass is very robust and lifelike with wonderful texture and goes down to subterranean levels. Deep pipe organ notes are felt to the core. It feels like I'm in a cathedral. Female jazz vocals are as smooth as silk with zero sibilance. Trumpets really have that blatt sound. Violins sound like wooden boxes, not glass ones. Dynamics are lightning fast and powerful. The pure silver AudioQuest cabling enhances detail and nuance with no additional treble or midrange brightness.

To sum it up, for the first time ever, I am totally content with the world class sound quality I am enjoying. The system sounds so lifelike, I forget about the components and become totally immersed in the music. I often listen very late into the night, mining my music collection to rediscover old favorites. Mr. Vandersteen, you hit it out of the ballpark with this speaker/amp combo!

JimboJumbo's picture

There's a bit of resonant activity around 4 or 5 Khz and also 18 Khz in the CSD plot.

Step response is spot on; see my comments on the Wilson audio test; https://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-specialties-alexx-loudspeaker#comment-576416

Other stuff looks pretty good; but then for $62K it should be.

JimboJumbo's picture

Slew rate?

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