I have read JA's outstanding reviews of Vandersteen speakers for years, but this is the first time he's heard their new System Nine. Please read all the way down as Fremer mentions the late AJ Conte's outstanding TT: Enjoy
The first room I went to at the 2017 LAAS was that hosted by LA dealer Optimal Enchantment featuring a system based on Vandersteen's Model Seven Mk.II speakers ($62,000/pair) and M7-HPA amplifiers ($52,000/pair), which I reviewed in May 2016, this time reinforced by a pair of Vandersteen's SUB NINEs operating below 100Hz. It may have been the first room I visited but as good as many other systems sounded, they didn't match what Vandersteen refers as System NINE for its effortless sweep of sound, precise, palpable imaging, and smooth yet detailed high frequencies. On the title cut from a test pressing of Dave Brubeck's Take Five, the reverb surrounding Joe Morello's drums in his solo was more audible than I hear from my own system and the textures of his cymbals were superbly well differentiated.
The rest of the system comprised Audio Research Corporation's REF-10 phono preamplifier and line stage, with isolation stands and bases from Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) and cabling and power-line conditioning by AudioQuest—a Niagara 7000 for the amplifiers and Niagara 5000 for the front-end components. But it is the LP player in this room that drew visitors' attention.
Michael Fremer shared my enthusiasm for the sound in this room, which had LPs played on the late AJ Conti's Transcendence turntable with the Super Arm fitted with a Lyra Atlas cartridge. In Mikey's words: "This turntable is the acrylic-free, minimal-plinth design I always hoped AJ would design and build."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/jas-final-report-2017-laas#mX8Fja9AgBY4SDyp.99