herron vtsp-2

I was waiting for someone to write a review on this amp but no reader has done it yet!
Anyway, I am a happy owner of this amp now. I just want to share some experience to others who wants to know a bit more about this amp.
I was lucky to buy it 2nd hand last year at almost half of the retail price.
The unit came with Sovteks and displayed Version 1 at start up. It sounded good but was not as quiet as the reviews had said. At the time, I found it sounded ordinary.
Later, I found out that version 2 upgrade is available for free if you sent it back to the factory. I did that and also re-tubed the unit. All version 2 units now tubes with EH 6922.
The difference is night and day!
There are major changes to the volume settings. It makes it as quiet as any SS amps and thus brings improvements to all other departments.
For me, this unit will be a very long term partner and is one less problem that I need to worry about in my up-grade path.
One interesting point I like to tell about this amp is that I can not hear it any more!! It has some how disappeared from the system. I can still hear my Jadis power amp. I can still hear my Thiel speaker I have forgotten I have a pre-amp!
I hope other Herron fan can continue this thread with their experiences.

Thank You.
I have the "r01" version & have been using the unit for over a year. My unit came with the EH 6922 tubes & I have Herbie's Hal-O tube dampers installed on all 6 tubes. As I understand from Herron, depending on the level you listen to your music & the system it is matched, the upgraded version will be quieter. I did not think my unit is "noisy" though.

Like Luna, I feel the VTSP-2 is basically a plug/play pre-amp. It sounds neutral & does not get in the way of the music that is fed to it. I can't imagine myself looking for another pre-amp to replace the VTSP-2, except perhaps an upgrade to version 2. Goes without saying it matches very nicely with my amp & speakers :-))

IME, there's not many pre-amps on the market that does not have its own signature sound........
I thought HP or someone gave a positive review of the VTSP-2 in TAS, but it doesn't appear in their recommended components. Mysterious.

Regardless, thanks for the impressions. If I had the space in my office/spare bedroom/listening room for the VTSP-2 and the M-1 monoblocks, I would give them a shot.

Maybe Herron will come up with an integrated :)
Hi Luna, Which Jadis you are using with VTSP2?
Hi Sirlee,
My Jadis is the DA7. Newest model of the Defy7. Honestly, I have a bit of regret with this decision. It has too much character of its own and is not as transparent and airy as the Audio Research VTM120 it replaced. It has problems opening up the bass of my Thiel 2.4. Mid-range and vocals are hard to beat though!
I hope someone can give me some suggestions of how to go from here?
Change amp or change speakers?
I have a VTSP2 v.2 It took many weeks to break in, sounding a tad light weight initially, but now I would also characterize it as "neutral".
I am very tempted to try some tube rolling, despite Keith Herron's assertion that his carefully selected and matched EH 6922's are hard to improve on. There's a very slight fowardness/glare of upper range vocals that I suspect is from the Russian made Electro-Harmonix tubes (standard, not gold-pinned). Six higher-end NOS tubes such as Amperex White or Philip Miniwatt will be pricey though, with no guarantee. Anyone else ventured that route?
Because of its neutrality, it clearly defines any system changes, from powercords (on it and other components), IC's and just about any other change up or downstream. I therefore don't quite consider it "plug and play" cuz it rewards system tweaking. And I love it!
Please tell me your tube rolling results
, Tympani
A sextet of NOS Philips Mullard (Holland) 6922's, 1960's vintage should be arriving this week. I'll let you know!
Just found this review.......
Well, I have been listening to the Philips Mullard (made in Holland) 6922 tubes for 2 weeks. These are pristine NOS tubes from Brent Jessee (great guy, btw). The immediate impression was a dramatic improvement in 3-dimensional presentation of the soundstage, making the performance more palpable. The highs were quite silky and extended. The entire presentation was more organic, breathing. The tubes were dead-silent, and matched perfectly.

However... the timbre of the pre-amp did change from the neutral Herron sound to one that emphasized midrange (mid to high), which on my system with certain discs (Norah Jones for example) become too much of a good thing. Crossing the line from "lively presence" to "too much" was very much dependant on the recording, as many discs sounded just right. Also noted was a bit of bloat on mid-bass which could at times be distracting. At other times it just made the recording sound "rounder" and more alive.
I tried some Hal-0 tube dampers, with very little change, not surprising given the extremely quiet nature of these tubes, known for low microphonics.

I am sending these tubes back to try another sextet, this time Amperex USA 7308 White labels. These are even pricier than the Philips Mullard Holland 6922's. I realize I'm getting into some heady stuff here, and I acknowledge that unless these tubes really knock my socks off, I'll probably settle back to the modest EH's. I will let you know my impression of the new tubes.

By the way, my system is up, with pictures if you'd like to take a look.

Happy Listening!
My Herron Tube Rolling Adventure continues (and very possibly ends). I'm currently using NOS Amperex 7308's, USN-CEP tubes, vintage 1965. Really nice sound, balanced throughout the spectrum, with airy top end and natural, not boomy bass. The holographic imaging and pace are tops. The system has an ease and warmth without the sometimes distracting midrange presence or mid-bass bloat I heard with the Philips/Mullard/Holland 6922's. Hal-O dampers do provide a smidge of extra smoothness to the top end, without robbing detail. Not cheap, but in my setup well worth it. These are keepers!

I had a talk with Keith Herron about tube rolling. I think the statements in some of the reviews of his gear oversimplify his approach to tube-rolling. I would characterize it more as "rewards can be had, but caveat emptor" (my words, not his). Personally I feel that the VTSP-2 is a well-designed unit with robust decent-sounding and readily available stock tubes, but its worth experimenting with the one performance-altering variable. It's paid off in my case.