Herron Audio VTSP-1 preamplifier & VTPH-1MC phono preamplifier Page 5
If you're looking for a minimum-hassle, tube-based line stage that's well-built, flexible (six inputs, mono switch), and engineered to pay careful attention to the purity of the incoming low-voltage, low-current signal, the Herron VTSP-1 merits serious attention---regardless of how much you're prepared to spend. It's that accomplished.
Nonetheless, in my system---with the Sonus Faber Amati Homage loudspeakers, which have an incredibly liquid, relaxed, natural, and highly resolved high-frequency presentation---I found that the addition of the Herron VTSP-1 made the overall sound somewhat too liquid and relaxed. Reinstating the Ayre K-1 restored the sonic balance that works for me. Another Stereophile reviewer who auditioned the VTSP-1 in his system thought it had among the most natural---if not the most natural---high-frequency performance he'd ever heard, though he concurred with me about its slightly soft bass. It's still a mix'n'match audio world. I'll leave the talk about "breakthroughs" and "now, for the first time we have..." to the cheerleaders.
Just as my listening was coming to an end, and after most of this review had been written, the VTSP-1 preamp began to occasionally output what seemed to be a serious DC thump shortly after being switched on, and sometimes when the Mute button was switched on or off after the preamp had been powered up for a while. I'm curious to see if this problem presented itself during the measurements, and, if so, what it was. But don't let this stop you if the Herron VTSP-1 sounds as if it might be what you've been looking for.
As for the VTPH-1MC phono section, its overall accomplished and balanced performance, and especially its clarity and transparency without brightness or etch, make it a very attractive product in the $3000-plus category.
But as good as these pieces are individually, they seem to work best together. $6900 for the pair is serious coin, but these are serious, well-thought-out products.