Responses from goheelz

How does the VPI Aries II stand up to current mid priced tables?
The VPI Aries 2 also was produced as a "Black Knight" edition, which is the one that I've been using for many years.  I've tweaked it a bit over time.  This one has a black acrylic platter that I think is a bit lighter than the standard Aries 2. I... 
Why Does My Current Music Sound So Much Better than It Did in the 80’s?
It’s the big room and the subwoofers. Also, ‘80s music and ‘80s digital were terrible.  
AXPONA - Deals?
I dunno.   Maybe get out to AXPONA, talk to some dealers, and find out?  It’s a sales event, amigo. You’ll have a great time in any case. 😊  
System bottleneck?
In your shoes, since vinyl is one of your things, I’d sell the Rega right away and upgrade your vinyl setup. Much better phono stage and cartridge too. Stop using Bluetooth for digital.  Once you upgrade the vinyl rig, digital will become less rel... 
Class A or Class D solid-state amplifiers (modern designs)
Let’s get more specific. Which specific class-D power amplifiers compete favorably with the best amplifiers by, say, Audio Research (tube) or McIntosh (tube and/or solid state) or Pass Labs (solid state)?   
What were the radio stations of your youth that helped you on your music/audio journey?
WDVE Pittsburgh (early 1970s) — Dad rockWRTI Philadelphia/Temple University (late 1970s) — JazzWBCN Boston (early 1980s) — rock and many surprisesWPAQ Mt. Airy, NC  (1990s) — old-time stringband + bluegrass 
Overhead speakers for Atmos 5.1.2 system
I just finished a home theater renovation, but I decided against the additional Atmos ceiling speakers.  My ceilings are only 9 feet, and I thought extra overhead hardware would be unsightly and of limited use for most movies in the near future. F... 
Help wanted spending money and improving my system.
If vinyl is important to you, think about an upgrade to your turntable//cartridge/phono pre rig.  
Right speakers for big room limited to small room placement options
Check out my setup. My room is smaller (15 x 21 x 9), but it works. For your room, I’d add subwoofers to my system. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/4415#&gid=1&pid=1 
Cartridge options going forward
I’m liking the Lyra Kleos SL.  My first Lyra, and it is a *little* better (but def. better) than the less expensive Dyna XX2MkII, IMO.  Kleos SL is less than 5K. 
Update on Audiogon Member Almarg
Sending Al deep gratitude for being the best kind of audio mensch in these parts.  Always gracious, always smart, always wearing his tech knowledge lightly and modestly. I learned a lot from your many wise posts. Best wishes to you and yours. See ... 
Analog Upgrade - Phono Preamp or Cartridge?
VPI has better options and better upgrade paths than Rega IMO. Consider VPI for longer term goals such as speed control, better tonearms to optimize better cartridges, heavier plinths, etc.  
Analog Upgrade - Phono Preamp or Cartridge?
If you are not sure whether LP playback is for you, try listening to a top flight LP system. Maybe you won’t like it, but at least then you’d know.  Rega is not representative of top LP playback, so that would be a factor to consider. In your shoe... 
Looking for phono preamp suggestions
Lots of good suggestions, to which I will add the ModWright PH-150 Reference Phono. This is a tube MC/MM unit with two inputs: single ended and balanced. Running a Lyra Kleos SL LOMC with excellent results. Service and advice from Dan Wright are a... 
Vandersteen 5a - Setup help needed
Vandersteen will be able to answer your questions best. But do you have the proprietary crossovers made by Vandersteen? You will need them for the 5A’s.