Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011 • Best of Show

The system VTL compiled, which featured comprehensive digital and analog playback, proved that sometimes a great hi-fi system just has to be involved. VTL Siegfried Series II mono amps ($65,000/pair) drove TAD Reference One speakers ($75,000/pair), with a VTL TL-7.5 Series III line stage ($20,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono stage ($10,000) also part of the electronics chain. A full dCS Paganini system, comprising transport, DAC, clock and upsampler ($53,996 total), handled digital, while a Spiral Groove SG 1.1 turntable with Centroid tonearm ($35,000) and Lyra Skala cartridge ($3200) spun LPs. Also in use was a modified Otari tape player and Bottlehead Repro amplifier ($4000) for playing back the 1/2" tapes from The Tape Project. Nordost Odin and Valhalla cables and QBase products tied it all together.

You name it and this system could play it. During our visit, we heard streamed digital, CD , LP and tape -- the latter being the most impressive. The dynamic and frequency ranges were massive, but it was the way the system revealed inner detail, which was especially evident on the Sonny Rollins and Creedence Clearwater Revival cuts on tape, that impressed most. We've heard CCR's "Down on the Corner" many times, and the first time from Fantasy LP was especially memorable, revealing detail never heard before. That went double for what we heard here from the same cut on tape.

It's always precarious to compare recollections of older products with the realities of new ones, but with the Siegfried Series II, VTL certainly seems to have created a very special amp.

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