VTL’s Siegfried Series II monoblocks

Bea Lam discusses the voicing process. Photo: John Atkinson.

VTL opened the 2011 RMAF with a special press event, introducing the company’s new Siegfried Series II Reference monoblock power amplifiers ($65,000/pair).

The redesigned audio circuit is now fully balanced and employs a shorter, faster negative feedback loop and zero global negative feedback. In addition, VTL’s variable damping factor feedback control allows the user to precisely adjust the amplifier’s output impedance to best suit the loudspeaker load. Mundorf silver oil capacitors are said to provide a sweeter, more extended top end and a more relaxed midrange tone.

VTL’s Luke Manley said, “The new Series II represents a giant leap forward for the Siegfried platform. We’ve substantially enhanced the performance of the design, and the new circuit realizes even more of what the precision-regulated platform can achieve.”

VTL’s Bea Lam described the “tight loop of engineering and listening” that takes place when voicing any VTL product. Her method is one of “incremental and implemental development.” She first listens for tonal colors and textures. Once the correct tonality of individual instruments has been achieved, she listens for voices. Finally, she listens to large-scale orchestral to determine whether a product is capable of distinguishing between tonal colors within a broad frequency range.

The demo system spared no expense: VTL Siegfried Series II Reference monoblocks ($65,000), TL-7.5 Series III Reference line preamplifier ($20,000), TP-6.5 Signature phono preamplifier with MC step-up transformer ($10,000); dCS Paganini digital playback system, including transport ($16,999), DAC ($17,999), Clock ($7999), and Upsampler ($10,499); Spiral Groove SG 1.1 turntable with Centroid tonearm ($35,000) and Lyra Scala cartridge ($3200); a Tape Project Otari MTR-20 half-inch tape machine with Bottlehead Repro amplifier ($4000); TAD Reference Once loudspeakers ($75,000/pair); and Nordost Odin, Valhalla, and QBase power products ($50,000) and Odin signal and digital cables ($235,000).

I noted an absolutely intoxicating sound—effortless, smooth, captivating, and inviting, with outstanding scale, impact, and grace. The quietest passages of music exhibited the same delicate, confident strength as the loudest passages.

The only criticism I could offer is that the price of this beauty is far beyond my means, but that would be silly. I think the price is justified by the performance. I’ll never be able to afford a system like this, but I’m glad I was able to hear it at the RMAF.