Any Vandersteen 7 Owners in SFO Bay Area ?


There is no dealer in San Francisco Bay Area who carries Vandersteen 7.  I want to listen to them before i consider and upgrade and wondering if there is anyone in my area who can help me.  I own 5A Carbons and thinking of upgrading. 
I do not live close. I live in Indiana. I have heard the model 7's with Simaudio and CAT gear. They are fantastic! If I had the money they would be in my room instead of my Quattros. The 5's are great but I believe you will never look back at your Model 7 purchase.


I'll ask around as many of we Vandy owners are in touch on other forums.  Seattle is nice this time of the year  as is LA, lol.  You have great speakers, but I do hope you get to hear the 7 mk 2's.  They are one of the most special speakers I've heard and I get out a lot and hear many of the 100k speakers.  The Vandy manufacturer plant is not far from you.  email me:  [email protected]
Thank you.  I will try to drive to LA This weekend to listen to them.  I am surprised that we don't have any dealer in Northern California who carries them.   I like my 5A Carbons but never listened to 7s . 
They used to have one in Walnut Creek.  They probably will in the future though as they are starting to grow again.  Randy at Optimal in Santa Monica has the 7's on the floor I believe.  I know that Bruce in San Diego has the 7's as well as it's matching amp on display right now.  That amp is sick with it, lol.  That's my dream.  
i would suggest you call Richard. I have 7 mk 2 in Seattle. he helped me a great deal in auditioning, etc.
Having said that both Randy and Bruce get a lot out of the 7's - they have great rooms, skills and ancillary equipment.
have fun the 7 -and frankly the speaker you have are amazing.
i am blessed to have them

Tom, yes you have what I consider the best speakers I've ever heard as I"ve heard them so many times in so many room and with so many different amps, but they always shine.  I hope OP get's a chance to get down to Socal this weekend. Please call first and let us all know how it goes.

Tom, I'm heading up to Seattle on Xmas week as a get away with my wife.  Can't wait. I used to live in Bremerton with the Navy in the early 80's.  Love Seattle area.
sent you a PM

Sorry to high jack this thread, but for those with extensive experience, is the 7 mk 2 a huge leap ahead of the original 7?
Also, might the CAT JL-2 tube amp, which is rated a bit above 100 watt, capable of driving the 7's?  Most systems I have seen them driven by high powered solid state.
Thanks, Steve

Greetings Siddh
  Not to major on the minors
The 7 or 7 MK 2 features a 400 WPC extraordinary non current limiting amp for its bass section with tun-able in room compensation.

This allows us a far smother in room bass response and foundation.
 Their unique High pass relives the burden of the main amps heavy lifting  dramatically lowering distortion improving clarity and transparency of the whole system.
IMHO the 7s drivers and complete loudspeaker concept simply stated
outperforms anything I have heard currently available. 
 We can take any decent amp from 100 WPC plus and experience their magic
  The first thing folks that can hear say is they notice its the first pair of speakers that don't sound like speakers.
 Audio Connection
Vandersteen dealer
PS in breaking in my first pair of 7s temporarily hooked up to a 12
 hundred buck NAD w/ Aesthetix Tube pre I was riveted into the chair
given a tonal history lesson and couldn't leave for hours.
Thanks Johnny.  Many of us feel the same way about the 7 mk2's.  They are just so special IMHO and  outperform the Wilson XLF's and the top Radiho's (spelling) that I've heard.  It's just special speaker and Johnny is as good a dealer as you will find in the country.  Give him a call if you don't have a local Vandy dealer. There are MANY on this as well as other boards who drive many miles to work with him as he's an honest guy who also knows his stuff.  
Tom, I never got a PM.  I don't even see a place to look for it.  email me at [email protected]   thanks.  Also, anyone who wants a pretty set of Treo's that I got from Johnny, let me know as I'm moving on up to the Quatro's.  lol
Is there a major difference between MK I and MK II ? I found MK I speakers and wondering if it is worth upgrading to MK II . 
Yes there is a difference in the mids and highs.  Just a bit more refined, spacious and airy.  Even less distortion.  I hear the difference, but like anything in this range, it's incremental and not WOW.  Just want to make sure you know that you have to be the original owner in order to get the upgrades.  Some folks don't realize that until after they have purchased a used piece on here and then want to upgrade, only to realize they can't.  Are you working with a dealer?  If so, no problem.
Also the size and height of the sound stage will be larger with the 2's.  Everything is just better. Incremental, but in this price range that's important and when you look at 10k in the big scheme of putting a large system like this together, yes it's a big difference you will hear.  JMHO

So did you get to Randy's? If so, how did it go?
I listened to the speakers over the weekend and liked them.  I might buy them in near future. 
Any color suggestions ? We can get any automotive colors, 
my thoughts..
The 7 is no longer available only the improved MK2
I had a shot at last pair of 7 and passed as I wanted Richards best even if the differences are relatively small. Richard is a fanatical and frugal Engineer and mk2 means something. Not only is the acoustic lense chaged with better tweeter/ mid alignment but the subwoofer driver has been tweaked. I was able to hear 7's in 4 distinct environments around the country - including a generous offer to hear Richards personal setup - this before mk2 existed. I have heard them with as few as 200 wpc. without knowing your room tastes, etc..I would not feel comfotable saying what the minimum amp would be - certainly whatever you are using for the 5a Carbons would be up to 7's...I ran my 5a with a Mac240 for a while :-)
my tastes do not run to loud - as I write this I have Alison Krauss on at 17 on the ref5 se volume Ayre amp is about 70 db ( using Audiotools rta)
the new vs used track has a couple of factors
new qualifies for future upgrade path. You get to pick your paint color also.
hopefully this helps

As for color -yes automotive colors.thousands of choices. I went with Audi phantom black pearl....I can send you photos if you like. just pm me your email. You can go mild to wild.
George who works for Randy at Optimal took some incredible photos of the 7' which I believe the use on the Vandersteen website and for reviews. 

My wife and I go to Stereo  Unlimited in San Diego to listen to the sevens with the Vandy amps. Wow! Best in his store and that covers a lot of very high end equipment. His display pair is in what I believe is Ferrari red. Gorgeous. I know his staff can deliver and set up anywhere. They do work in NYC so I imagine they can get up to n calif. 

I have Audio research ref 250SE and I believe it is more than enough to run these speakers. I have ARC 5SE as pre amp. 
Post removed 
the ref250se are amazing with 7
I borrowed a Ref75se when my Ayre was getting the Twenty upgrade and the sound was sublime....

to clarify my comments new build 7 not available.

sounds like Randy at Optimal is going to have the most similar system for you to listen to. 

i got your PM and i have emailed you some photos..the finish is outstanding quality....better paint than our GL 550 for sure ! ha

V, I"m soo happy for you. Yes the mk 2 are so good and I'm glad you appreciated them.  I know some who have run them on the AX5 Twenty for a spell and they worked great.  Remember that from 100hz down, they are run off their special amp.  You AR is one of three amps that they are most often demo'd with.  It's an awesome amp to use.  If you can ever get Richard's amp, THAT is the amp to use.  Nothing I've heard has come close to that.  I love it with the Ayre KX-R for speed, clarity and timbre.  You can't go wrong as you are using well engineered gear and they pair so nicely together.  Remember that Richard LOVES AR gear and often does rooms with them at shows.  

As for color, go for it.  I love the Audi Havanna Black also as it has metal flecks of copper in it, but you can't really see it unless you are close.  I'm about to get a pair of Quatro's and was thinking about asking if I can get mine painted too.....on the ropes there, lol.  
I am more than willing to take your old model 7s off you hands at a steep discount!! LOL.  I need to upgrade from my old 5s!  Happy Listening.  I build my own DAC and preamp an use a SA-100 old Counterpoint hybrid amp (highly modified by me) and it drives the 5s very well.  Have not tried the Counterpoint SA-220 probably should get around to that though.
Bigkidz, go listen to the Quatro's.  They are actually much better than the original 5's.  Won't move quite as much air, but much more refined speaker overall. You won't be disappointed.  Or if you are the original owner, just upgrade to the 5CT's....;)
Finally Ordered Bentley  Neptune Color 7 MK II  today .  Hope they sound good in my room. 
Wow, how cool.  Veer, please email me at [email protected] may need to look at that color for my Quatro's. I"m starting to lean towards doing a metallic auto paint.  So excited for you man!!!!

How lucky you are that you can afford the 7s. I heard them a couple of years ago at Audio Connection in NJ and they were jaw dropping.

It will be love at first hearing.

Bentley Neptune ! cool
please send me a picture when you get them !

ps check out new 2L recording of the Norweigan Hymnal... fantastic on the 7.. totally seemless driver integration from low low organ notes to mass choral voices.....
Grammy nominated

Amazing, congrats V!
I"m about to finally order my Quatro's (as soon as my Treo buyer comes up with the rest of the money and takes them to his home). I vacillate between wood or paint and I'm really starting to consider paint even though it's a substantial upgrade. I will keep them forever and there are some really beautiful colors out there.  Audi Havana Black (copper flex in the black) is another beautiful color.  I will also use a ceramic nano coating on the final rubdown in order to get a deeper polish and strengthen the coating from a 4 or 5H to a 9H.  Much harder as painted surfaces can mar a bit easier than the veneer ones.  

I just heard the Sevens at Audio Connection and was very impressed. I liked them much better than the flagship Focal and Wilsons that I've heard.  Amazing coherence!
Great. Eagarly waiting for them.  Hope they sound good in my room. Need to fine tune my room acoustics before I get the speakers. 
Awesome and congrats!  I'm sure you will love them.  Randy will help you dial them in I'm sure.  It's so worth it.  I agree with limniscate IRT other's flagships.  I've heard a lot of other top speakers recently and am not impressed.  Just so much texture and info with all the Vandersteens. Just no smearing.  Only a fanboy because of what they do at their price points.  :)  Pleaes keep us informed
I had the 5As which I considered to be a breakthrough speaker especially for the price. Bought those from Bruce at Stereo Unlimited in Sand Diego. Bruce is a super dealer in every way. A few years later along comes the Model 7. Living in the LA area I heard the 7s at Optimal Enchantment where I met Randy Cooley who I discovered knows more about Vandersteen speakers than anyone else out there.
Purchased the 7s and use them with Aesthetix Atlas Signature mono
blocks (that are being upgraded as I write this to Atlas Eclipse) plus the Aesthetix Io Eclipse phono preamp with volume controls. I believe the best amps for the Model 7s are the Vandersteen, Aesthetix, and Ayre
amps. As for the 7s,  is there better speaker out there that will work in an average sized listening room? Not to my knowledge. My tastes are classical and jazz. These speakers will bring the sound of a concert hall
into your living room better than anything I have heard.  I have heard Richard Vandersteen say many times that the difference is in the drivers. His perfect piston drivers are simply the best available today. The rest of the 7s design is state of the art as well, but the drivers really set this speaker apart from the rest.
Very well put Chargers....As I've posted, Bruce is a great dealer and I used him when I lived in SD in the early/mid 80's.  Just a great guy who gets it.  I never met Randy, but have heard great things about his ability to set up a system.  All of Richard's dealers are masters of set up.  Every dealer of his I've been to, many, are set up artists.  

Love your system. I"ve heard it many times in other stores or homes and I'm jealous, lol.   

I just ordered my Quatro's in Audi Havana Black.  I will wait as long as it takes as they will take my system to the next level.  Have to send my Ayre AX5/20 back to Ayre to have the crossover hard wired into the amp. It will sound much better this way, rather than go with the external crossover as I have no way to properly install it.  It's a cheap and easy install and can be reversed if I ever want to sell the amp.  I'd be able to have Ayre go over the amp too, if and when I sell it.

The best I've ever heard the 7 mk2's is with Richards own amp.  I like Aesthetix better than AR amps/pre's.  I have a newly reconditioned and upgrade Rhea that they guys there did for me.  I will be putting it on the market soon as I never use phono anymore (I have MS and it's a bear to get up and change albums sides every 20minutes or so).  I feel badly as it's such a great phono stage. 

I think the reason the Ayre (and other reference gear) sounds so great with with the Vandersteen Quatro on up is because it's freed up having to power 100hz down.  Folks don't realize what a major difference this is.  You are not just getting possibly the best drivers on the market, you are getting an active speaker that is optimize in the bass.  Bass is the most expensive and difficult part to reproduce for any product.  Richard takes that guess work out and still allows us to go with the amps of our choice.  I do wish he's just offered a fully active system with a great preamp.  That would be a perfect world for me, lol.
I am going to get my 7s sometime next week and i will post pictures once i get them.  

Just listed my 5A carbons on Audiogon. 

ctsooner, I have been following your goal to move up the Vandersteen line.  Seeing the post directly above, do you think it a good move to try to cancel your purchase of the Quatros and instead purchase the 5A carbons?  I have not heard either speaker but was just wondering, as in a similar circumstance I would be thinking about it, but I do often second guess myself.  This is only meant to be a friendly question.


Jetter, I am the guy who bought ctsooner's Treo's, I kind of kick myself for not realizing that the Treo and Quatro share the same footprint. I probably would have gone with the Quatro's and eliminated the 2w subs. Anyhoo, it's done.
Since I visited ctsooner to pick up the Treo's, I think the 5a carbons would be a bit overwhelming for his space, though he might disagree with me.
One of the reasons I sold my 3a sigs was because they were so physically large.- Though I found the sound to be sublime.
The 5's would have been fine in my room.  I have plenty of friends who have small spaces and love their 5CT's.  Personally, I feel the Quatro's are the sweet spot in the Vandersteen line and I'm not made of money.  Iol.  

I rarely second guess my audio purchases as I'm so anal, that I put a ton of time and auditioning in before any purchase.  I know the Quatro's will sound outstanding with a built in crossover in my Ayre AX5/20.  I've heard the 5ct with the AX5/20 on a few occasions and it sounds great, but personally, I like it better on the Quatro's.  Again, I used my ears and not specs to figure that out, lol.  Bob, I really think you will love the Treo's with the amps you have.  :) pete
Congrats on getting your 7's !!!! That color is so cool !!!!

i was in Bruce's place in San Diego recently and heard his 7' in Red - they were sublime with Ref Recordings Symphonic Dances disc.

the chain: Delos , Bardo w tube power supply, Brinkmann arm , VTL pre and mono amps  180 SPC and Nordost cables.... sublime

Randy is great and of course really knows how to get most out of an ARC and Vandersteen pairing

Sorry the VTL are 180 wpc 
there were also two towers of Shunyata power conditioners.

i also listened to Diana Krall live in Paris - a disc I am hyper familiar with - I would say my digital front end system can keep up on many variables... I would call it a tie... some things better, some worse...

Tom, thanks for sharing.  Very cool.
I am going to get my 7s tomorrow. Any suggestions for break-in them ? 
I listened my way thru breakin.. they just get better - plan for many late nites of joy !!!!!

(( I am going to get my 7s tomorrow.
 Any suggestions for break-in them ?))
 Hook em on the 4 Ohm ARC taps and enjoy
 Best JohnnyR
How cool is that!!!  Happy for you.  I'll be getting my Quatro's when I get back from Nepal in the middle of Feb!!  What color did you go with?
Glad to see so many 7 users in this thread!  I have had the 7 for two years and have found that they somehow are more sensitive to powerline quality than other systems that have gone through my place, i.e. my system through the 7 sounds vastly different during different time of the day and it is quite repeatable.  Anyone else experience this?  It is quite annoying and I wonder if adding something like Audioquest Niagra (8000?) that is said to be made for the 7 will solve this.  When the stars align, I feel I am at the pinnacle point of this hobby, but at other times, I wonder what went wrong.  Took me some time to figure out its the power.
The 7000 is a great power tool (whatever we call them now) and works great.  I'm still not sold on using one for amps though.  I've heard of folks having the problem you talk about with their amps. 

Are you able to borrow one from your dealer?  If so, just try it and see.  Nothing ventured nothing gained I guess.  Garth was showing it off at Audio Connections when it was about to be released, but the 7's weren't plugged into it.  I know a few guys with 7's and the Niagara.  I"ll ask them their thoughts.  I know that they loved it with them and said they didn't hear any choking at all, which is amazing for any power tool.
I have my Amps and Preamplifier hooked up to Shunyata Hydra Triton.  Do u suggest connect the speakers also to it ? Not sure if Hydra can supply all that power.