Andover Audio Spin System Integrated Audio System Review Page 2

Each of the SpinSub's twin 6.5-inch woofers are set up in a boxer configuration, facing back-to-back with the drivers firing out to the sides. With this arrangement, energy transferred by the drivers into the sub enclosure—and from there into stand—will mostly cancel out, minimizing unwanted vibrations. As with seemingly everything from Andover, the SpinSub is an exercise in simplicity, with just volume and crossover controls and a single 3.5mm input jack for the output of the SpinBase. Power-up is controlled by the input signal, so once you have the level and crossover controls set, you'll never have to touch anything again. Andover suggests starting with both the level and crossover controls at the 12 o'clock position, which puts the crossover at around 85Hz. After extended listening, I ended up setting the SpinSub's crossover knob to around 11 o'clock and juiced the level up a bit.


The final part of a complete Spin System is the SpinStand ($199), a stylish, four-shelf unit custom-sized to perfectly accommodate the SpinBase and SpinSub. It even includes a few nice features like a hanger for headphones, a tie-down strap to prevent tip-over accidents, and adjustable leveling feet. The middle shelf—also the lower shelf if you're not adding a SpinSub—holds about 60 LPs. Whoever created the SpinStand must have been a designer for IKEA in a previous life, because assembling it felt a lot like putting together an IKEA shelving unit. If you're comfortable with knocking out flat-packed Swedish furniture, you'll have no problem with the SpinStand. (I would suggest reading the paper instructions carefully, however, as the instructional video on Andover's YouTube channel glosses over a few important details.) When following the instructions carefully, the job of assembling a SpinStand should take about 30-40 minutes.

Turntables need to be care- fully leveled to work properly, but the SpinDeck does not have adjustable feet. For that reason, you'll instead want to use the SpinStand's own feet to make sure the whole system is perfectly stable and plumb. (For setup, I like to put a level directly on the turntable platter and then level the stand around it.) I have lots of tools to double-check factory settings for a turntable's tonearm and cartridge. Using these, I found that, as assembled, the SpinDeck's stylus overhang was set perfectly and its cartridge was set to track at two grams, the upper limit of the manufacturer's recommended range. This was probably a wise choice considering that the tonearm does not include any skating compensation, and the higher tracking force will help to keep the stylus secure in the record groove. The SpinDeck does come with a simple paper alignment protractor and a stylus pressure gauge to help with the install should you decide to change cartridges at some point, although a more likely upgrade would be to swap out the Ortofon 5E stylus with one of that company's fancier stylus options.

Same as when I reviewed the SpinBase, I found that the full Spin System sounds best when installed close to a wall, but well clear of any corners. Having said that, the simple tuning controls provided on the Spin- Base and SpinSub will let you fine-tune the sound so it works well with just about any room placement. Unlike with a lot of hi-fi rigs, the Spin System has a simple, clean, and modern look that's unlikely to visually offend. It's also available in both black and white to provide an optimal match with your room's decor.


As someone who installs and adjusts exotic high-end turntables on a regular basis (it's my day job), I expected to find the SpinDeck a bit of a lightweight. But the more I used it the more impressed I was. Despite having limited features, with no anti-skating, arm height, or azimuth controls to play with, the tonearm came with well- adjusted bearings that showed low friction and minimal play. The Ortofon OM-5E cartridge is a classic with a history going back several decades, and it performed extremely well in the SpinDeck. One issue I had during regular SpinDeck use was the turntable belt snap- ping—both belts that came with the review unit gave out during my evaluation. However, Andover Audio says that care- fully following the belt setup video on its website should prevent this from happening in most cases. Also, that it will always issue belt replacements, no questions asked. (A support line with a human on the other end is staffed weekdays 9 to 5.)

In my review of the SpinBase, I noted that the system could deliver bass that was tight and clear, but also that it couldn't really match the visceral experience you get with bigger speakers. That's still true, but by adding the SpinSub, the sound gains a new sense of richness and body. On Peter Gabriel's classic track "Sledgehammer," for example, Tony Levin's incredible bass line had a sense of weight and definition that the SpinBase on its own simply couldn't muster. This '80s-era album can come across as pretty crunchy and compressed, but the SpinBase's open and natural delivery instead made it sound clear and relaxed. Another great example of the SpinSub's contribution to the system came when I listened to jazz bassist Ray Brown's Soular Energy album. The deep thrum of Ray's acoustic bass was delivered with a lot more sock, power, and swing. Thinking about the album title, I guess you could say that the SpinBase playing by itself brought the soul, but when coupled with the SpinSub, I also heard the energy.


However, I did find that IsoGroove isolation technology isn't completely foolproof. If I cranked the volume to the max with the SpinSub also turned up beyond my preferred level, I could push things to the point where the system would start to feed back. This wasn't really program dependent and was most audible in the silent grooves between songs when the volume was maxed out. But this was an extreme example of Spin System use—if you want to recreate a rave inside your living room, I'd recom- mend moving the SpinSub to somewhere outside the SpinStand. The included 10-foot connecting cable offers plenty of flexibility in this regard.

The Spin System ticks a lot of boxes for a real-world all-in-one music rig. It's stylish, simple to set up and use, and it sounds great. Best of all, it's completely modular, so you could start with just playing from your phone using Bluetooth to a SpinBase, and then add the SpinDeck, SpinSub, and SpinStand over time. I highly recommend the Spin System to anyone seeking to put together a complete hi-fi rig for just above $1,000.

Andover Audio
(978) 775-3670