This is my music system which has been evolving for over 30 years.

Have had many different components of many styles. Have learned that synergy is everything and you have to trust your ears, not reviews.

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 is the most important component.

Vinyl is spinning about 70% of the time (Used to be 90% vinyl, but digital changes have been a big improvement). After relocating to Austin, TX and getting the room optimized, now working on rebuilding the analog side of the system, having sold tt, arm, carts & phono stage prior to the move. 

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,

JouleLA150, Pentagon PH3, CAT SL1MkIII,


AvalonRadians/SpectralDMA180 & DMC20II/Meridian508

BATvk5i & vk60/Von Schweikert vr4.5II

Chario Academy1/Air Tight ATM1

VTL ST80/ Acarian AlonII

Thiel 3.6 / Krell KSA 50

Vandersteen 2ci / Sunfire amp

VPI TNT6HR w/12.7 arm, van den Hul Colibri XGP,   Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm, Shelter 501
MacMini running Audirvana+ , too many CDs players & DACs to remember or care about

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

Room Details

Dimensions: 23’ × 15’  Large
Ceiling: 10’

Components Toggle details

    • Sound Lab A3
    Electrostatic Loudspeakers 
    Vintage A3s in oak
    • Krell FPB-300
    Solid State Amp
    • Balanced Audio VK51SE
    balanced linestage
    • 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
    • Nagra BPS
    battery powered phono stage
    • Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit
    Damping/Isolation mods by Mike Patrick
    • Sonore microRendu
    Audio Streamer/Renderer (Ethernet > USB)
    • Ecco Audio Custom Linear Power Supply
    7V, 2A linear power supply for microRendu. Hand built to spec by Vince DiNenna.
    • Synology DS415+
    NAS with two 4TB drives for now...
    • Spin Planet Custom Amp Stands
    Maple amp stands with Eden Sound brass Bear Paw radiused footers
    • DIY Slipknot & Sbank Maple Madness Rack
    PerfectPlank Maple 1 7/8, McMaster-Carr Brass hardware
    • 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.
    • Purist Audio Design Aqueous Speaker Cables
    State of the art from back in the mid 1800s or so.
    • Audience Power Cable
    PC w/adjustable floating polarity option
    • Cerious Technologies Graphene Matrix Balanced cables
    Balanced cables dac-to-preamp
    • Mogami 2534 Interconnects
    Mogami Neglex 2534 quad cable w/ Neutrik XLRs 20' pair amps-to-preamp
    • Walker Audio Valid Points
    resonance control devices
    • PS Audio Juice Bar II and Juice Bar
    8 outlet & 6 outlet power strips
    • Symposium Rollerblock Series 2
    Acoustic Coupling Devices
    • DH Labs Ceramic Cones
    vibration damping devices
    • ERS Paper RFI/EMI Control
    ERS paper to fight airborne RFI/EMI
    • 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.
    • van den Hul The First Ultimate Mk II
    Carbon interconnects (phono stage to preamp)
    • Harmonic Technology Crystal Silver Phono
    DIN to RCA phono cable

Comments 230


Thanks for your comments and suggestion. I will be happy to try some Nordost if I get a chance. I agree that the Valhalla took quite some time to break in and did sound bright at first, but now I'm really liking the improvment in the tonearm and wiring.
Congrats on your new amp. Curious to hear what speakers you choose. I heard ASR amps in many rooms at CES a few years ago, and they were run w/quite a variety of speakers.



I am looking at different preamps and have the Herron VTPH-1 with a 300B Audio Note and saw you sold your Herron 166a and bought the Dodd. Can you share some of the strenghts of the Dodd over the Herron?

My three preamps I am looking at ae the DeHavilland UV 2,Herron 166a and the Dodd.



Hi Spencer,
You have had your Valhalla wired 12.7 in your system for afew months, how do you like it?

I found the bright signature will completely vanish once the wire is burnt in.
The wire also seams to vanish out of way of the signal.

Try this and see what you think.
Borrow a burnt in pair of Nordost interconnects to go to your phonostage.
Either the Frey, Tyr or the Valhalla will do.




System edited: Just picked up a Dodd Battery-Powered preamp and sold my Herron VTSP1/166a. After all the RFI/EMI noise issues here, the opportunity to use a battery preamp has much appeal. Upon initial listen, it is very promising. I the the review on is pretty much spot on. The Herron is an amazing preamp, especially in its price range, but I have been wanting to try the Dodd since its introduction, and I figured its a good time to make the move.



I did get mine from McMaster-Carr. Seems like brass pricing has increased significantly lately.


System edited: Added two sets of Symposium Rollerblock 2 isolation devices for use under the Vendetta phono stage and the Herron line stage. Thanks to member, Cello for turning me on to these! They bring a noticeable improvement.


it's 1/2" brass Threaded rod & 1.5" Butcher block? where did u find Brass Threaded Rod? It's 2-3 times more than Stainless Steel which is 10 times of the price of Galvanized.

I'm making my own with 5/8-11 48" stainless Steel found on ebay for $15 per rod. Very hard to find in 48" costs $45 from Bradley and unavailable from McMaster-car



Nice upgrade...let us know how it comes along!



System edited: Just upgraded to a JMW 12.7 tonearm w/Valhalla wiring and adjustable fluid damping. I'm wondering if I should expect a break-in period for the wiring. It sounds great right out of the box, and I've barely begun tweaking VTA, VTF etc. Also have on its way the Hovland Music Groove 2 phono cables, which I'll compare to the Cardas Golden Reference.


System edited: Just picked up an Audience Power Cable to try on the Herron line stage in place of the VH Flavor 2. Initial listening (CD only) reveals a very lively, dynamic sound with perhaps more bottom end emphasis. It really grabs your attention. Will try this cable for next few weeks and then try the VH again to decide what's the best fit.


Hi Sdatch,

It's pretty impressive.
While it's looks are sort of, um...plain, and nothing sexy about it, the sound is hard to knock. It calls little attention to itself. In fact, I have a hard time describing its sonic character. It just seems to quietly get out of the way. I can't say I'm in love just yet, but she's got potential. With most of my listening to it via the Vendetta phono that's still breaking in the new teflon caps, I really shouldn't be judging much for a couple of hundred hours of playing time.
I've used it so far just w/the stock tubes, which Keith swears are the best bet. Most everyone who's rolled, has gone back to the Sovteks, which counters my personal experiences with Sovteks in other applications.
For the price, I think the Herrons are a pretty great value. Fit, finish, and internal build quality all appear first rate.
Come have a listen anytime. Cheers,


What are your thoughts on the Herron linestage? Having the monoblocks, I have been pondering a move to one of the matching preamps.


System edited: Recently received my Vendetta phono stage back from John Curl after updating to latest version including teflon caps. Had to sell the Atma-Sphere MP3, as I couldn't afford to keep everything. Using the Herron line stage with the Vendetta. Still breaking in, but so far very promising. I think I've finally licked the intensive RFI problems that I've been battling for years now. It sucks living next to a radio tower!


Hi Mitch,
I'm listening to the Herron VTSP-1A/166 and the Vendetta Research phono stage. The Monbrison looks very interesting; I've read much about it, but never got a chance to hear any of the Shindo gear. When I heard the LL2 in a friends' rig, it didn't pair very well w/his Classe Omega/Eggleston/Wadia system, but that isn't going to help you much.
I won't be able to attend HE, but many members of the Philly Area Audio Group will be there. You really need to meet them sometime. Best,


What other linestages are you trying and what phono pre ? I am considering the Shindo Monbrison. I demoed it my system and it sounded outrageously good. I am also considering a Lamm LL2. Finally are you going to the He Show?


Hi Ozzy,
Well, the K&K did manage to avoid the RFI troubles that I've been fighting. OTOH, it wasn't that great a fit with the rest of the system, so I sold it(quite easily!). For all the positives written about it, compared to the Joules, CAT and Atma-Sphere, the sound in my system had "little meat on the bones", and was tonally on the dry side.

I'm currently auditioning another phono stage of legendary status and another tube linestage. After I get a better handle on things, I'll post about that. Cheers,



What was the outcome with the K&K preamp? If you posted it already, I missed it.



System edited: Added a VH Flavor 2 w/gold Furutechs to try w/my preamp. We'll see how it sounds...


Thanks, I built that rack with parts from McMaster-Carr, Audiopoints and maple from One of the posts above has the whole parts list. If you pursue and have any questions feel free to email me. Cheers,


spencer i love that rack you have, i haven't read all of the posts above so if i am double hitting sorry, looks like a samson clone, where did you get your materials,
BTW super fine system,


Hi Larry,
Bobby sent the woofers to me and I installed them with help from my pal, Badboss429.
They will take a significant amount of play time to break in, and I'm less than halfway there, so not really listening critically yet.
With all the tubes, etc. I'm reluctant to leave the rig on unattended for long periods. At times like these and old receiver would come in handy for burn-in assistance. Will post more later...Best,


Hi Spencer,
Are the MXe woofer upgrades being done by Bobby ?
Do you have any intial reactions ?


System edited: Recently upgraded to lead-free MXe woofers in my Merlins. Breaking them in now. Also deleted my now dead Omega Mikro power cable. Too expensive to repair, a waste of money IMO. A pathetic value prop. Too bad it sounded so nice while it worked.


Nice room. Too bad it's at YOUR house.


Thanks. You system and room are pretty amazing. You obviously have given great thought to room interaction, and taken some well thought-out steps to get the most from your excellent components. I've always wanted to get a chance to hear the Kuzma airline setup in a great room and system like yours. Cheers,


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