My audio system has been evolving for the past forty plus years.  This is my current system and listening room.  The components all work together to produce a very detailed and holographic listening experience.  I like to listen to jazz, classical and pop music. Streaming digital is good but I love the sound of vinyl much more!
The listening room left side opens up to a 15' deep dining room. Behind the listening seat is open to a 10' entryway.  The speakers are 7' apart, 3.5' from the front wall with the listening position 9' away.  While not an ideal listening room configuration, it manages to work very well.
Update 2024: Pass Labs pre amp and phono pre upgraded to XP-22 and XP-27.


Room Details

Dimensions: 15’ × 13’  Medium
Ceiling: 10’

Components Toggle details

    • Vandersteen Treo CT
    Vandersteen Treo CT's in Mahogany stained Watnut
    These replaced Acoustic Zen Adagio's.  The Treo CT's are an order of magnitude greater fidelity than the AZ Adagio's.  The timber, tone and realism is so much more like real music rather than good HiFi.
    • Ayre Acoustics AX-5 Twenty
    Using in unity-gain function as amp only.
    Outstanding integrated amp...
    • McIntosh Labs MC 7200
    This 200 watt SS stereo amp is used in place of the Ayre when I want a warmer presentation.
    • Pass Labs XP-22
    Line Level Preamp upgraded from a XP-12
    • Pass Labs XP-27
    Phono Preamp upgraded from a XP-15.  This is used for both the EAT C-Sharp and the Dr. Feickert.
    • Kimber Kable Hero XLR
    3m balanced IC's between the Pass Labs line level preamp and the Amp
    • Ayre Acoustics QB-9 Twenty
    The Twenty upgrade to this QB-9 DSD made a huge improvement.  I'm so glad I made the investment.  I can't imagine how much I'd have to spend to get beyond this sound.
    • Acoustic Zen Hologram II Zero Crystal Bi-wire speaker wires
    Acoustic Zen Hologram's have a rich, relaxed overall tonal balance and fulness resulting in a natural life-like tonality, excellent speed, articulation and clarity.
    • Duelund Coherent Audio (DCA) DCA12GA & 16GA speaker wire
    Duelund Coherent Audio 12GA plus 16 GA speaker bi-wires.  5' DCA tinned-copper with a baked oil impregnated cotton dielectric.  Currently not in use but good.
    • Shunyata Research Venom USB cable
    Currently using Shunyata Research Venom USB cable.
    My alternate cable is the Curious Cables (Rob Woodland) 200mm USB link.
    • Innuos ZENith MK3
    New streamer/server (March 2024) with 2TB SSD storage.
    • Aurender N100H
    Music server with 4 TB internal storage and 120G RAM cache for playback
    • MIT Zcord II
    MIT Zcord II's power cords the Aurender and the Ayre QB-9 DAC,
    MIT Zcord power cord on the Ayre AX-5 Twenty
    • Zoethecus Equipment Rack with 5 z-slabs
    Zoethecus Cherry Wood Equipment Rack
    • Dr. Feickert Analogue Woodpecker
    with Feickert LPS, Kuzma 12" arm with VTA on-the-fly and Soundsmith MIMC Star low output cartridge. This TT is a giant improvement in SQ.
    • Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 CE with VTA Tower
    Gimbaled 12" tone arm
    • European Audio Team C-Sharp Turntable
    This TT is a large improvement in SQ over the Thorens TD 160 
    • European Audio Team E-Glo Petite Phono-pre
    Tube-hybrid; better than the Graham Slee that it replaced.
    The EAT is such an outstanding tube phono-pre.  It's used with the Thorens TT.  It's connected to the Pass pre with DH Audio SilverPulse IC.
    • DH Labs SilverSonic
    Tonearm cable and IC
    • Hana ML Cartridge
    This Moving Coil Low Output cartridge is quick, nimble, detailed, transparent and relaxed sounding.  The treble extension is sweet and fast at the same time.  It is incredibly dynamic and full-bodied; the dynamics are equally amazing in the deep bass, making for powerful and deep sounding.

    • Sumiko Amethyst Cartridge
    This is my secondary cartridge.  The Sumiko Amethyst (Moving Magnet) has a punchy and rhythmic sound. Low frequencies are smooth and extended.  It slightly lacks dynamics and perhaps airiness.
    • Thorens TD-160
    with Shure cartridge
    • McIntosh MR-80
    Tuner in custom burl walnut cabinet connected with Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II Zero-Crystal IC's.
    • REL Acoustics T/9x and R-328
    Used as left and right subs (older B-2 caps blew up now in storage)

Comments 9

Steveott - Thanks for the comment.  The Treo's and REL's integrate very well.  There is no x-over between the Vanys and RELs.  I use a Radio Shack sound Level Meter and Stereophile Test CD vol.1 1/3-octive warble tones (200Hz down to 20 Hz) to set the REL x-overs and output levels to achieve as flat a response as possible.  My Treo in-room response w/o RELs was -2.5 dB @ 31.5 Hz, -6 dB @ 25 Hz and -10 dB @ 20 Hz.  With the RELs add the response is +1 dB, -3 dB and -1 dB.  I can't ask for anything more... very satisfied.


Great room. How do your new REL's integrate with the Treos? Also, are you using a crossover to roll off the Treos in the low end?
Thanks, Steveo


Nice! I bet that sounds great. Treo CTs were on my short list when I wanted to move up from my 2Ce Sig IIs but I ended up with Thiel CS2.4s, then I completely replaced all the passive parts from the binding posts to the driver hookup wire. I had my QB-9 DSD upgraded to the Twenty version . . . all smiles.


Hey dhilton, beautiful system and set up.  I too am a Vandersteen devotee (on my third pair now).  To be honest, I did not fully realize the importance of positioning until the last couple of years.  EVERY room is different, but I have found my Quatros sound best when the distance between the middle of the tweeters is the same as the distance from the middle of the top to my forehead (when seated in my listening position).  And ........ playing with the degree of toe-in is significant as well as making that degree exactly the same on each side.  I was taught a very simple method for that if you're interested. 
Play on


Thank you for the compliments.  I'm located in Grants Pass, Oregon


Hello dhilton,

Very nice system in a nice looking room. Well done. I'm in the NW also, west of Seattle on Whidbey Island. Are you also located in Washington State, or elsewhere in the Great Northwest?

Best regards,


Very nice system and beautiful natural wood room.


The Ayre integrated opened this system up by greatly improving resolution and highs.  My prior amp/pre were McIntosh MA 7270 and ARC LS-15 with extensive mods by Great Northern Sound Co.  Even so I was not quite satisfied with the SQ.  It did not open up until the Ayre AX5 Twenty.  
The Adagio/Ayre are a great match.


Love the look of those Acoustic Zen speakers in your audio room set up. How do the Ayre components match up with the Adagio's sonically?


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