VTL's New Phono Stage

VTL introduced a new phono preamplifier at CES, the $6500 TP-6.5 Signature Phono Stage, as well as an upgraded MB-450 Signature monoblock amplifier. Using the single-chassis configuration of the TL-6.5 line preamplifier, VTL's phono preamplifier follows its hybrid design approach, using a low-noise J-FET to drive high-current 12AU7 tubes. It features switchable, five-corner, passive RIAA filtering. Gain, cartridge load impedance, phase, muting, rumble filter, and power on/off can be switched by remote.

The VTL TP-6.5 was driven by a RPM Spiral Groove turntable, fitted with a Graham Phantom Arm and a Lyra Titan cartridge. The rest of the system was the MB-450 amp—450W into 8 ohms in tetrode mode or 225W in triode mode—driving Avalon Eidolon Diamond loudspeakers. Although several VTL amplifiers were played, I preferred the open, dynamic, detailed, and musical sound of the MB-450 Signature Mark III.