This is my music system which has been evolving for over 35 years.

Have had many different components of many styles. Have learned that synergy is everything and you have to trust your ears.

Also I've had had these systems in over half a dozen listening rooms. I've spent many hours working on room treatments and setup and believe the room/speaker interaction is the most important aspect of great sound that many hobbyists fail to optimize.

Vinyl is spinning about 80% of the time (Used to be 90% vinyl, but digital changes both sonically and user experience w/Roon & Qobuz have been a big improvement). After relocating to Austin, TX and getting the room optimized, I changed the analog side of the system, having sold tt, arm, carts & phono stage prior to the move. 
Most recent projects have been upgrading from microRendu and Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC to opticalRendu, SonicTransporter as Roon core, and Denafrips Pontus II. Later I added a number of NOS cables from Tel Wire, something I've wanted to do for more than a decade.

Previous pieces & systems included:

BAT VK150SEs & Silverline LaFolias, Nola Viper Reference III (with Lamm & BAT monoblocks), Acarian Alon V mkiii , Merlin VSM-MX, Atma-Sphere MA1mkII.2, Atma-Sphere MP3, Herron VTSP1a-166

Joule Electra LA150 and Berning ZH270, Pentagon PH3, CAT SL1MkIII, Merlin VSM-MX

Cary Rocket88 & Dehaviland 845 monos/Cary SLP2002/QuadsESL63USA

Avalon Radians/SpectralDMA180 & DMC20II/Meridian508

BAT vk5i & vk60/Von Schweikert vr4.5II

Chario Academy1/Air Tight ATM1

VTL ST80/ Acarian Alon II

Thiel 3.6 / Krell KSA 50

Vandersteen 2ci / Sunfire amp

Technics SP10mkII, EPA250 arm, SH-B3 obsidian base, custom 4kg ss mat, running with Signet 111E and Goldbug Clement II cartridges, Aqvox 2CI balanced phono stage
VPI TNT6HR w/12.7 arm, van den Hul Colibri XGP,   
Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm, Shelter 501
Sonore microRendu w/custom linear power supply feeding Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC
MacMini running Audirvana+ , too many CDs players & DACs to remember or care about


Room Details

Dimensions: 21’ × 15’  Medium
Ceiling: 10’

Components Toggle details

    • Vandersteen 5A
    Loudspeakers in Cherry/Black
    5-driver, 4- way, time- and phase-accurate speaker system that incorporates a unique aperiodic, push-pull, powered sub-bass system, a battery-biased passive high-pass filter and an 11-band equalizer—in a “boxless” minimum-baffle, non-resonant enclosure system.
    • Krell FPB-300
    Solid State Class A Stereo Amp
    • VAC Renaissance Mark V Preamp with Phono
    balanced dual mono linestage and phono stage with external power supply. Running Amperex orange globes on the linestage side and a pair of Amperex NOS 60s medical grade Bugle Boys and one stock Mullard reproduction on the phono side. Planning on experimenting with NOS Mullard, Amperex and perhaps Telefunken for the single tube on the phono side.
    • Sota Nova Vacuum Series VI with Eclipse(Phoenix Engr. designed) Motor Controller
    Awaiting delivery of the new Series VI Nova table spring suspension turntable with vacuum hold down system, mag lev platter/bearing, Eclipse motor controller(designed by Phoenix Engineering) and Reflex clamp!
    • Dynavector DV-XX2 mkII
    moving coil cartridge
    • Ayre Acoustics QB-9 DSD TWENTY
    • Sonore opticalRendu & LPS
    Audio Streamer/Renderer (Ethernet > USB) , Running Roon 's latest version, 1.8(at this time)
    • Small Green Computer sonicTransporter i5
    Roon Core, and partial library on Samsung EVO870 4TB internal SSD. Remaining library on external Samsung T7 Shield 4TB USB SSD
    • Spin Planet Custom Amp Stands
    Maple amp stands with Eden Sound brass Bear Paw radiused footers
    • DIY Slipknot1 & Sbank Maple Madness Rack
    PerfectPlank Maple 1 7/8, McMaster-Carr Brass hardware, Star Sound Audiopoints footers
    • Custom Room Treatments
    Designed and framed by Sensible Sound Solutions. Assembled and upholstered by me using Guilford of Maine acoustical cloth.
    • SpinPlanet Custom Wood Diffusors
    BBC style QRD diffusors handmade of solid pine on 24" birch plywood base. Hand made in Delaware, USA.
    • AudioQuest Aspen Bi-wire Speaker Cables



    • Tel Wire Power Cables HC Cord & Cord
    HC Cord - large 9 gauge OCC single crystal, ultra pure copper. Terminated with genuine Oyaide 004 series with Beryllium copper bases and platinum & palladium plating. HC with 20amp connector on Krell amp connected to 20amp dedicated circuit

    Cord - OCC single crystal, ultra pure copper. Terminated with genuine Oyaide 004 series with Beryllium copper bases and platinum & palladium plating
    • Tel Wire Connect XLR
    OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) single crystal copper of the highest purity available. Terminations are Xhadow Silver RCA’s that are hand-picked by Chris Kline, Jacketed cotton

    (phono stage to preamp)
    • Mogami 2534 Interconnects
    Mogami Neglex 2534 quad cable w/ Neutrik XLRs 20' pair amps-to-preamp
    • Inakustic Reference USB Cable
    German USB cable used between opticalRendu and Denafrips Pontus II DAC
    • Audioquest Niagara 1200 & NRG-Y PC
    Power conditioner & cable for front end of the system.
    • Vinyl Stack Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
    Paired with a 10L 40hz Ultrasonic tank and following the formulas and process suggested in @rushton's thread and  article.
    • Eden Sound Terrastone Footers
    Terrastone Bearing Isolation Footers under preamp and DAC.
    • PS Audio Juice Bar
    6 outlet power strip for networking accessories
    • Walker Audio Valid Points
    resonance control devices
    • ERS Paper RFI/EMI Control
    ERS paper to fight airborne RFI/EMI
    • Hart Big Willy MK3 Record Cleaning Brush
    Described in detail in M.Fremer's Analog Planet Shootout video and review video. It's a brush that cleans dust off records. Way more effective than the Acoustech grounded large brush that it replaced

Comments 267

Nice photography. Cool system and room!


Posted new pics of the Vandersteens in-room and the rack with the VAC preamp. 
Still need fresh pics of the Ayre DAC and Ekorness Stressless chairs that replaced the sofa.


Moving on from my Denafrips Pontus II. Awaiting arrival of an Ayre Acoustics QB-9 DSD TWENTY. 
A step towards well known synergies between Vandersteen/Audioquest/Ayre/Audio Research.


Finally found new speakers. A mint pair of Vandersteen 5As will be arriving soon from Ultra Fidelis. I'm excited.


New VAC preamp with phono pics added.


Recently added a VAC Renaissance Mark V preamp with phono stage and external power supply. Enjoying it, especially the benefits of a good tube phono stage. 
I've run into issues with RFI with prior tube stages, mainly due to my former location close to large radio towers. Now I've got no issues, so going back to tubes was far more practical. 
Playing around with some NOS tube options and having a blast. This combo really draws you in and makes you want to spin more albums. That's what it's all about!


Spencer! How are you? I’ve tried to email you a few times. Email me or call me at some point. Would love to get caught up…


Yes, that’s what I was referring to. I read that she made it and the shelf, sweet! Fun stuff!


My wife handmade the "tiny VPI" copying the one I had. Platter spins, arm moves too, haha.


@bslon the VPI has been gone for over over 8 years. I upgraded to a Technics SP10mkII that I ran for 3-4yrs. Sold the hole analog rig to a friend as I embarked on a long distance move. After settling in Austin, I picked up my Sota etc.


Spencer, very cool system you’ve put together! That monster Krell (Class A?, OMG!!) seems perfect for your Sound Labs, I’d love to hear that combination. Also, love the artwork and the VPI model, it made me smile! Cheers, enjoy!


@edsel95 Thank you. 
More wood now...just built some DIY cable lifters. Adding pics soon. 
Some will debate the merits of such a project, but at a minimum they will keep the robot vac at bay.


I love all the wood! Beautiful!


Added NOS Tel Wire HC Cord power cable on the Krell amp, Cord PCs on preamp and DAC and Connect XLRs from phono stage to preamp.


Just ordered a Hart record cleaning brush after watch Fremer's shootout video. This will replace my Acoustech Big Brush.


Inakustik Reference USB cable added between the opticalRendu and the Denafrips Pontus II DAC


Added a new piece of art in the listening room. Concert poster from my first show at Austin City Limits' Moody Theater.


@slaw Yes, she is. I tell her so every day!


I bought the Nagra used 3 yrs. ago, so can't really say about "over the years". 
It sounds pretty fine; dead quiet(it's battery powered) and very natural, detailed and spacious. I pondered an upgrade and can't really decide on anything I'd rather have without a big investment that I'm not prepared to make. 
Next move would probably be on the tonearm. 


How does your Nagra sound and how has it held up in terms of SQ over the years?


Spencer, Wow! Your wife is definitely a keeper!!!


@slaw Hi Steve,

The amp stand and matching one now under my Sota are made by my wife. We bought huge pieces of essentially maple butcherblock from perfectplank in CA, and she did the cocobolo inlay. It's basically a small cutout with a thin strip of the darker cocobolo glued in then sanded. Then edges were rounded with a router.
When she made them, I had monoblock amps, so naturally, a pair was made. When I switched to a stereo amp, I moved the spare under the turntable.

The VPI I owned was a TNT6-HR. HR stands for hotrod, which means that the tonearm connects directly to the plinth without any separate armboard. I bought the table directly from Harry at VPI back in the day when I was spending time with our dearly departed friend, Bobby P., of Merlin Loudspeaker fame. Bobby had the same table in his reference system, which was photographed in much show coverage along with the first pair of VSM-MX in british racing green, which I owned and enjoyed for many years.

It's funny I think I deleted the REAL pics of the VPI, as well as the SP10mkII that followed it. The pic up now is a tiny handmade replica of the VPI and my audiorack that my wife made of ceramic/resin, etc. as a gift. It's about 2"x1" on a 4"wide rack, lol! The tonearm swings  and platter spins too. Now THAT'S a labor of love!


Spencer, Noticed your platforms have a center this a wood sandwich? Where did you come across that VPI TNT model/platform?


Returned the CAT8 cables in favor of unshielded CAT6 from Blue Jean Cable. Due to reconfiguring the physical arrangement of my oRendu I needed a more typical length USB cable, so I'm temporarily using an Audioquest Cinnamon I hung on to as a spare until I decide what USB cable to get for the longer term. Started a thread to narrow the field. If anyone has thoughts or wants to offer something at a good price, feel free to PM me.


Replaced the Netgear switch connecting my digital gear with a Trendnet switch suggested by Andrew at Small Green Computer. Replacing some generic CAT5e cables with CAT8s over the next few days. Curious to see if it impacts my network speed with downloading large files and copying them to my NAS.


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