Vandersteen Seven Review

Vandersteen Seven: The Ultimate Disappearing Act

Utilizing advanced technologies to render an object virtually undetectable is one definition of the word STEALTH. Stealth is not commonly used, but became a household word during the Gulf War. The U.S. military used advanced technologies in aircraft to make them virtually undetectable to the enemy. We all watched in awe as bombs and missiles were dropped with incredible precision and obliterated the Iraq military machine.

It seems as though Richard Vandersteen of Vandersteen Audio had the Stealth Fighter in mind when he set out to design the appearance of the Model Seven loudspeaker. My personal pair of Sevens are black in color and during low light listening sessions they disappear in my room. The clean design lines of the Model Seven remind me of the aircraft after which it was designed.

That being said, the ultimate disappearing act of the Vandersteen Model Seven loudspeakers has nothing to do with their outward appearance. Instead, Richard Vandersteen utilizes test of time proven design principles, as well as innovative and cutting edge technologies and materials, that render them undetectable in the production of music in your listening room. This rare combination of proven design, cutting edge technologies and materials, and the Seven's ability to be tuned to any room, sets them firmly at the top of an elite group of world class loudspeakers.

I’ve enjoyed listening to music my entire life, and since the age of 14 had my own audio system. In the last 20 years my system has continually evolved into a true high end audio system. Four years ago my wife and I purchased a new home which has a large 33’ x 23’ family room that I have converted into our listening room. Through that move I began to realize how important both the room and speaker placement are to the reproduction of music. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to have Jim Smith of Get Better Sound fame come to my house and conduct a Room Play session. Because of the Sevens' room tuning ability, Jim and I were able to place the speakers in the room for the best imaging, soundstage, and aesthetics, and then adjust the bass response to the room and my personal tastes. This capability is unique, and to my ears makes a significant difference when done correctly.

So the answer to everyone’s "how do they sound?" question. In a word the Sevens sound fantastic. The first thing I noticed with them is their ability to flush out all the inner level details of the human voice and instruments. The tonal quality of the presentation is so life like and real. A few months back we went to Blues Alley in Washington DC and heard Ramsey Lewis perform. The venue there is very small with minimal amplification of the performance. It was in that setting that I realized how true to the source the Model Sevens truly are. No, its not live in my listening room, but closer than I ever thought possible. The three dimensional soundstage, instrument decays, and space around the performers draws me into long listening sessions. But it’s the presentation of the human voice that sets them apart from any speaker I have ever heard. So lifelike, the small inflections and nuances that are unique to every singer are jaw dropping. I’m continually surprised by the lifelike size and shape of the presentation in my room. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. I’ve purchased my last loudspeaker. High end audio is all about squeezing every last detail and potential from the source material. The Vandersteen Model Sevens are as true to the source as any loudspeaker I’ve heard.

In conclusion I challenge anyone to take an objective look at what makes a world class loudspeaker, and see if you agree with my opinion that the Vandersteen Model Seven stands alone at the top of an elite group of speakers that most would call world class. The factors below when considered causes them to have no peers.

- Proven design principles that have stood the test of time

- Cutting edge innovation, technologies and materials

- Aesthetics that blend into and home décor (look like they belong in a home not a recording studio)

- Room tuning capabilities for seamless integration in any room

- Settings that can tailor the sound to individual tastes

Evaluate these attributes when making your loudspeaker selection and you will find few if any competitors that can match the Model Sevens total package of value.

System Components:
Vandersteen Sevens, BAT VK 600SE with 655SE Caps, Audio Research REF 5SE with Super tubes, PS Audio DS and PWT, Bricasti M1, Music Vault M7 Server, Pass Labs XP 25 Phono Stage, Basis 2200 Signature TT w/ Vector 4 w/VTA Tonearm, Dynavector 20X2H, Synergistic Research Power cell 10UEF, Synergistic Research CTS speaker cables Synergistic Research Speaker cells, Synergistic Research CTS XLR interconnects, Synergistic Research Transporter Ultra SE, Synergistic Research ART acoustic System, Synergistic Research FEQand HFT's. Rack of Silence stand.
Thanks for your review. I have the Treo's and have heard the 7's at Audio Connection on MANY occasions. They really are special. I can't wait to hear the mk II's. I realized a few years ago that Vandy's done WOW the masses on first listen. They are not tipped up in the high end like some other's so they don't scream at you in the store or in a show setting. I think that's a big reason many say bad things about them on internet boards. Those of us who have gone the extra length and given them a true fair shot and listened to them for a few hours, get it. They are so detailed with no smearing and they are true to the signal. I have more than a few hot recordings and thats what they give me. Up and down his line they are still very good values.
I've heard a fair amount of speakers that break the 100k mark and they are no better and many are not at good as the 7's and that's not even the 7 mk II. There is a reason he wins awards regardless of what high end electronics he pairs with them. I do LOVE his new amp with them though, lol.
BTW, LOVE your system.
I doubt I'll ever have 7s due to the cost but I agree on the design principles creating a total package that's true to the input signal and doesn't exaggerate selected parts of it. I got interested in the 5As after reading the Audio Perfectionist's review article explaining all that went into the design. I've loved my 5As going on 10 years now without a single problem. The 7 takes the same principles to the next level and I can imagine they must be quite special. It's really about the only speaker I'd consider giving up the 5As for. I think it's likely one of the best speaker designs ever. You've put together a wonderful system there.
Johnny R at Audio Connections recently installed my Model 7s, replacing a pair of 5As. As much as I enjoyed the 5As, the 7s are in a different league. The are detailed from top to bottom but there is never any harshness. They seem to handle all different types of music with ease. And, as the OP says, if positioned correctly, they disappear. Nothing images like Vandersteens and these are the cream of the crop.
No one is as good a John @ Audio Connections. I bought my 5A's live in Arizona. I was going to revise my 5A's to carbons, but after hearing them (carbons)...I couldn't justify the money. I really found the Carbons so close to the 5A's. I heard them here in Arizona, so John's magic touch was not in evidence....but still.....