Congrats on the new amp, it looks really cool and I'm sure it sounds phenomenal. Enjoy!!
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Scotty, I agree wholeheartedly with your description of "control of SS with the magic of tubes". The VAC Phi amps have to "tubiness", yet still create those silky highs and 3D soundstage.
Have you tried rolling any of the 6922 tubes? I bet it'd sound dynamite with some Amperex 6922 PQ.
Be sure to e-mail me when the Beta starts to bore you! ;)
You own it, so I'm deferring to you, Scott, but I think the preamp section uses 6922 and the amp section uses 6SN7 as driver tubes. Anyway, I know rolling the 6922 tubes in my First Sound preamp makes more impact than rolling the 6SN7 tubes of the Vac Phi, and that's why I mentioned rolling the Beta's 6922 tubes if it indeed uses those.
Excellent review Scott- I think you have captured very nicely how I feel about my Phi 220 monos. I first fell in love with the VAC Phi Beta 110 at HE2004 when VAC partnered up with Von Schweikert and Oracle- fabulous sound. After selling my Aesthetix Calypso linestage and acquiring an EMM Labs DCC2 as my D/A and preamp, I wanted to bring tubes into my system again and VAC first came to mind.
I enjoyed immensely my McCormack DNA-500 and wondered how much of an improvement the Phi 220s would make. As stated in some other recent posts I made here, the Phi 220s have blown me away with how good they sound. While waiting for my 220s to ship, I found out Kevin was listening to them for 2 days prior to shipping to make sure they met his approval.
When you take into account the build quality, visual appeal, customer service, and most of all- sound quality, I'm consider the VAC Phi series a must audition and gets my vote for THE top amplification devices currently available bar none.
The quality control and attention to detail that Kevin applies, is exceptional. It's too bad more reviewers in the audio world haven't had a chance to review the PHI equip. so other audiophiles can hear about the PHI line. I am glad you are liking your phi 220's. I have a friend who owns the PHI preamp and the 220's. Exceptional sound.
Has anyone compared the VAC Renaissance Signature MKII preamp to the new Phi 2.0 Master Control or, for that matter, any of the Renaissance Signature series to the latest Phi series? Is it worth the difference?
I have recently been turned on to VAC. I was formerly a Levinson man, but there is no comparison - VAC is ABSOLUTELY BETTER! I may still compare the VAC preamps (either of the above) to the Halcro dm10 preamp. Has anyone made that comparison?
Steve- I own the Phi 220s which are very similar to the 110/110 (a 110/110 can actually be converted to a 220 if you wanted to do the monos later or needed more power). The 220s continue to amaze me- they are extremely quiet, make my speakers disappear like never before, and are truly the most complete amps from top to bottom I've heard. I've owned some very respectable solid state amps (Pass X-350, Rowland 201, McCormack DNA-500) and none of them come close to the 220s on high frequency air and extension.
If you read Scott's review again, and want an amp that sounds as Scott described- the 110/110 is for you. His review is excellent- there really isn't anything he missed. The 110/110 also has a 100K input impedance which should work well with the APL driving it directly.
I cna't comment on the 30/30, but when I spoke to Kevin about getting the 70/70 monos versus the 220s, he felt they are getting their best sound from the KT88 Beam power amps.