My system is upgraded considerably from the system I had posted previously.  

So here's what's going on now.
  • 30 amp dedicated circuit
  • PS Audio Power Port Premier
  • PS Audio P12 power regenerator
  • RHB Dezigns modified conrad johnson PV-12L with 12AU7 tubes (Gold Lion) powered from Shunyata Research Delta NR power cable. Line stage connected to Schiit Audio Loki Max with Cardas Clear Beyond interconnect 
  • Schiit Audio Loki Max connected to amplifier with 1.5 meter Wireworld Equinox 8 interconnects
  • SMc Audio Gold Special modified McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe power amplifier powered from Shunyata Research Alpha NR power cable
  • Marantz SA KI Ruby SACD player powered from Shunyata Research Venom NR power cable Marantz connected to linestage with Cardas Audio Clear interconnect.  
  • VPI Scout with Herbie Grungebuster mat, JMW Memorial Plus arm, Dynavector 20X2 connected to phono amp with Wireworld Platinum Eclipse interconnect 
  • Luxman E-250 phono amplifier connected to line stage with Cardas Audio Clear interconnect. Luxman powered from Shunyata Research Venom NR power cable
  • Vandersteen Treo CT speakers
  • two Vandersteen 2wq subwoofers with a 45 lb. weight on top of each
  • two Vandersteen M5-HP crossovers
  • Analog front end interconnect Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 7
  • Isoacoutics Oreas under all components
  • weights on top of components for chassis damping
  • Speaker cables - Two pairs of Wireworld Equinox 8 (biwiring Treo CT)
  • Quantum Symphony Pro
  • iQSE inside disc player, line stage, phono stage and power amp.
  • Hifi Tuning CD Demagnetizer
  • Roomtunes room treatment at all wall corners from floor to ceiling 
  • 2 Omega E-Mats from Perfect Path Technologies placed in 200 amp electric service.
  • 1 Omega E-Mat placed under PS Audio P12 power regenerator

Room Details

Dimensions: 18’ × 14’  Medium
Ceiling: 7’

Components Toggle details

    Comments 24

    It’s in the pics and the description.  It is so heavily modified that it is actually a Backert/ cj hybrid.


    Looking good Hifiman! I don't see the c-j in your updated list did you ditch it?


    Jfant not Janet!  Thanks spell check


    Hello Janet,

    Thanks for your kind remarks. The SA-KI Ruby reproduces both a spaciously detailed and musical (more analog sounding) presentation of digital than I have previously experienced.  The Cardas Clear interconnect helped with that as. its fuller than most other cables sound.

    The real difference maker as a lover of many musical genres and recordings of various spectral balances is the recently acquired Schiit Audio Loki Max equalizer. Each “click” of the 6 frequency band knobs makes a very minute adjustment to the levels in that frequency band that you can take less than optimal recordings and adjust them so you can enjoy the music more thoroughly. Ex.  I love the music, especially Mike Garson’s piano on Bowie’s Alladin Sane album. The recording is so bright with very little bass reinforcement that it all sounds “ragged”. The Loki Max’s adjustments make it sound more naturally balanced and enjoyable. The all aluminum remote allows adjustments in real time as you are listening with a bypass switch so you can hear the eq effect at any time as you listen. 

    Just wanted to share the impact of the Loki Max on my enjoyment of music.

    I tried to search for your virtual system but came up empty. Is your system there?

    All the best!


    A beautiful room and system! How do you like the Marantz Ruby?

    Happy Listening!


    lovely system !


    How is your impression after modding your McCormack DNA-1 Revision A+ to fresh Gold Special of 2018 ?
    I have the same DNA-1 Revision A+ and like it very much.
    You are the one of brave man who do not think about resale value, but about the result and your impression will be very helpful not only for me, but for all SMC fans  )
    You can post it in "Amp away for 20 year upgrade...back-up amp to the rescue" topic.
    And the last........your setup Absolutely awesome! ))

    Regards, Di.


    Absolutely awesome setup. The Conrad Johnson PV12 is a classic. The owner of this setup is wise beyond years and has extremely good taste. I would guess this system is supremely musical. How is the Marantz 8005? I am not such a fan of Marantz as it usually too dark sounding for my taste but I haven’t heard this particular player.


    tomic601  The weights are 45lb. round weight-lifting discs.  There are Herbie's Audio Labs Big Fat Dots under each weight disc so there is no rattling of the discs while subs are woofing.


    i will bite
    what are the 45# subwoofer weights ?
    and yes the carbon drivers are freaking fantastic ,,,


    BI   As far as the impact of the dedicated line, I have never heard my system any other way.

    The Treo CTs are an amazing value!  Already having the two 2wq subs., the Treo CT made sense for my system.  I would have wanted to go with the Quatro CT otherwise.  The Treo's 8 inch woofer is tight and tuneful.  I have the "Q" control on the subs at the minimum (tightest) setting.  Seamless integration between Treo CT and 2wq.


    So how much better are the Treos?!  I went from 3A sigs with a pair of 2ws to a pair of cloth Quatros. It was a nice improvement and much smaller footprint. I recently heard the Treo CTs and WOW whole other league. That tweeter is ridiculous.  I'll be saving for Quatro CT


    Awesome rig.  I was wondering about the effects of the dedicated AC circuit.   Big improvement in sound?  I'm seriously considering the same.


    Great looking system,....very nice upgrade path and all things assembled to sound wonderful! Enjoy!



    Menomonee Falls, wi

    Have you listened to the Pv-11



    frozentundra  Where are you located?


    frozentundra  I suggested a PV-11 to you on the Conrad Johnson--Best used Model thread tonight.



    Next on my list is a Tube Pre

    I was thinking CJ PV-12, PV-17 or ET3




    I live in Lancaster County, PA so I drive a buggy to work. HA. 

     The last time I was at Bob's shop he was finalizing his preamp designs.  If you have not had the pleasure, he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.  He'll propose in an unforced manner, mods. that he can do to your equipment and the expected outcome.  No pressure.  His work is meticulously done!

    I listened to cj gear in different situations and never heard them sound anything but musical.  It always sounded like music without the electronic haze that lesser gear can superimpose on the sound.

    I ABSOLUTELY believe in the first order crossover, time and phase coherence of Richard's designs.  You NEVER listen to drivers, you just hear music.  I have noticed that even in professional reviews that is often how the reviewer regards them.  They are "of a piece".  

    Thanks for commenting!



    Thanks for the feedback
    Have you listen to any of the Bob Backert preamps?
    How did you decide on the PV-12?
    Vs all the others?

    I just upgraded amps to a Pass XA30.5
    Man, Big difference.
    Amps do matter

    Next stop is probably a CJ preamp

    You've been a Vandersteen guy for 30 yrs?
    I assume you believe in the 1st order crossovers and time and phase coherence difference?

    I do 


    Ps: what part of world do you live in?


    I've loved cj  since an audiophile friend had an original PV-5.  Definitely on the warm, relaxed side of things but beautiful to listen to nevertheless.  The PV-12, a much later design was more linear and natural sounding.  I came across Bob Backert from RHB Dezigns, who has his own proprietary mods. for cj preamps.  Bob is a real craftsman.  His mods. opened up the soundstage.  The soundscape was bigger in all dimensions. You can hear more of the studio or hall where the recording was made than with the stock unit.  Don't get me wrong though the stock PV-12 is a winner.

    I did try audio research first, but it sounded like electronics to me rather than just music.  This is in no way me being a bummer on AR gear.  Their reputation is stellar and Willian Zane Johnson is a legend in audio land!  I t just wasn't at the time what my ears were looking for.

    On to the Treo CT.  I am in love with these speakers.  I am a 30 year Vandy user so I was already an addict.  I  truly had no idea that RV's designs had come this far.  Using the Treo CT with two 2wq subwoofers really allows the sound to open up.  My DNA-1s are heavily modified.  My way of staying current without having to invest at some point in a new amp.  I have liked the DNA concept ever since Steve McCormack came up with it!  The amp is "quick".  Music has the "jump" that I hear listening to live performances.



    You have a CJ 12 preamp
    I've wanted to try a CJ  & am wondering what the tubes bring to the party with a SS amp?

    Excellent system, especially with the phase coherent speakers 




    How do you like your Treo CT's

    I did not like the original Treo's , but the CT seams to really keep the harsh highs much smoother?

    Is the soundstage good with McCormack amps?



    hifiman5......truly wonderful system.  I like how you've added some new and modified some older components.  Congrats on your new Vandersteens!  How do you like the Marantz?  I've been eyeing that spinner for awhile now.  Regards.........


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