I demo'd the 1201 for a couple of weeks and thought it was a little better than my Zesto Andros.
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I heard the VTPH-2 compared with an ARC reference can't remember the exact number. But the Herron was very competitive with that unit. So IMO you would need to spend a fair amount of money to better the VTPH-2 but that's my opinion and why I purchased the Herron. And it might be something else in your system that is lacking as I have found the Herron to be very true to the source.
After auditioning a few units around the price range of the Herron VTPH-2, I chose the VTPH-2. It has the black background and dynamics of the Parasound JC-3, the finesse and beautiful midrange of the Fosgate Signature and the flexibility, bass and clarity of the Zesto Andros.
For me in my system, in comparison to the Herron VTPH-2 the JC-3 was a touch too dry, the Fosgate a little noisy and lacking dynamics and the Andros a little too polite.
Bonus is that Keith Herron is a great guy and a pleasure to deal with.
I recently switched to Telefunken ECC 83's for the first and second gain stages and a Genelex GEC A2900 for the line stage on my VTPH 2. I was amazed at how the Herron is now transformed into a giant killer. The nice thing about the Herron is you can tube roll to tailor the sound to your prefrences. The stock rubes sounded nice but the NOS Tele's really made a difference.
NOS Telefunkens make any phono stage that uses 12AX7/ECC83 sound better. I am using them in my vintage Quicksilver preamplifier, also upgraded with Vcaps. The Q has some circuit design features that have fallen out of favor on the one hand (like use of NFB in the linestage) but has a hefty tube-rectified, choke input power supply on the other. It's quite surprisingly great with the upgrades. The VTPH2 gets so much love on these forums that I have to admit I am curious. Yet the circuit is rather pedestrian in general characteristics. Goes to show... something.