CES 2015 • Hot Product

VTL debuted two preamps, both updated versions of existing models.

VTL calls the TL-6.5 Series II Signature ($13,500 introductory price, $15,000 beginning the second quarter of 2015) "significantly revised" due to its redesigned, shocked-mounted high-current gain stage, which uses new FETs developed for green technology, and revoiced audiophile-grade capacitors. These enhancements result in a preamp that has, according to VTL, "an overall more tube-like sonic character, with more-defined images . . . a higher level of inner detail and a dramatically improved midbass and midrange." As with so many VTL products, earlier versions of the TL-6.5 can be upgraded to Series II.

The new TL-2.5i ($3000 for line stage only, $4000 with MC/MM phono) immediately passes the eye test. It's absolutely packed with circuit boards, capacitors and tubes -- more so than expected, given that it's VTL's least-expensive preamp. The unit's line and phono stages have been sonically upgraded with audiophile-grade parts, leading to "improved resolution, greater harmonic richness in the mids and highs." A pair of gain switches -- one for each channel -- have been added to the line stage, so users can select the gain level appropriate for their amplifiers and speakers. Inputs and outputs are single-ended only, and the phono stage features adjustable loading and gain (52 or 58dB). A remote control is included.

As we've noted about VTL's MB-450 III mono amps, the TL-2.5i appears to offer remarkable value for its price.

VTL was showing a number of products with see-through top or bottom plates to make the point that they are all expertly made. Above is the underside of an MB-450 Series III Signature amp. The workmanship speaks for itself.

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