ya, me too.
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To those looking for opinions on the Virtue Audio Sensation here is a pretty thorough one from Stereomojo.
Virtue Audio Sensation Review
I'd love to hear from other members as well. Some used Virtue Audio Sensation integrateds just appeared here as well. You don't see them very often. Maybe it is a testament to how good they sound? People just don't want to give them up unless they have too?
Those Virtue amps that were on sale here didn't seem to have been kept long. I got the feeling that they were bought on the strength of reviews and found wanting in some respect. Could be wrong. If you go to other sites where Virtue is a member and site sponsor, the owners are constantly upgrading and tweeking, yet the reviews keep coming back positive. I, too, thought about getting one but passed.
Virtue audio has a forum on audiocircle...seldom do you see folks there unhappy with their virtue amps; tho they arent perfect. The modding has to do with 1) trying out various caps ie. aura, sonicaps etc and 2) different power supplies including battery setups.
I do not have a sensation, but rather the ONE.2 which has a similar sonic sign. With chip amps, Tirpath etc, people either like them or not. Many, like myself, find that putting a tube preamp upstream is a positive step. My understanding is hat some are selling their Sensations to get the newer version that includes a Gary Dodd tube buffer stage. hope this helps Dan
I have a Virtue 0ne.2 with a sonicap upgrade.
With this upgrade I totally LOVE this amp, The soniccaps smash to pieces the Virtucaps that were in there, IMO it's a huge difference. It came back to me a much more transparent amplifer. The good news is it only cost me $120 more for this.
If I owned Virtue, I personally would not offer the amps with the Virtucaps....why Vail a great amp.
If you use the big power supply's with these amps they sound big and open.
And that's exactly what I wanted, was a big muscle Tripath amp.
The Sensation interest me some, because of the three inputs it has. It's supposed to have a little bit bigger sound, I wonder if it does.
Right now, I'm using my One.2 in place of my Accuphase P-300 power amp (I love the P-300) and don't miss it when the Virtues there. A little different flavor. The Virtue is a musical and fun amp to listen too, with ALOT of detail,not sterile at all. GREAT dynamics make for fun times.
Sensation owners chime in please.
I don't know if I want tubes with the Virtue, I've had tube amps,and liked them plenty, but in the long run the Accuphase stack one out.
I'm very happy with the Virtue I have. I highly recommend them. HUGE bang for your buck. I use an Astron LS-10A power supply with it and that put the amp over the top into great.
Mcgarick, I share your findings about the Virtue. The One.2 is sonically the same as the Sensation that I own. You mentioned the Astron LS-10A power supply, who or where can I check it out?
In my system, the Sensation 901 with the Onda Systems interconnect and power cords make magic together. Having owned 300B SET amps, I found this combo superior in most areas with GREAT dynamics and detail. What a fun amp to listen to everyday. Surprisingly, I Don't miss the battery power supply.
This is an outstanding amp with lots of possible upgrades as Mcgarick mentioned.
I bought my Astron on eBAy for $75
These units are made for Radar and Ham radios.
It's a 2000 model.
I called Astron and asked if any recalls were associated with this #, they said "no"
Now Astron has had some issues in 2010 with this power supply, and caused Virtue some problems as they offered this to there customers.
So, you would not want to end up with one of those.
If you google this PS online, I think you can find them from $139 to $169 new.
Supposedly Astron recalled the models that had problems.
The Astron is so good, I would buy one again and just check with them to see if the unit I'm getting is OK.
Virtue also offers a PS like the Astron, but costs more.
I'm sure it's a fine unit too.
With the Astron I had to make my own power cord, as it has two bolt ends on the back, with nuts and washers, to tighten wires to the unit.
All total together, a good friend of mine and I have been in this hobby for 75 years. You name the brand of amp, and we have owned it or listened to it in our system. Audio Research, David Berning, Futterman's, CJ, Manley, Classe, several brands of SET amps, VTL, Threshold, Krell, Rowland, Threshold, BEL, Bryston, Spectral, Cary, BYOB, Musical Fidelity, the list gos on and on.
We are both currently using a Sensation with the Dodd tube buffer in our systems and we have never been happier. I know that sounds impossible, but it is true. For me, the battery supply and Dodd tube buffer was the final addition to my Sensation that made this true. I never hear the electronic glare at any time with this amp, even when first turned on.
Great soundstage, depth, detail, micro-phonics, and one of the most musical amps we both have ever heard. If the Sensation will drive your speakers, this is a must listen. It is also fun to see what each tube makes the amp sound like. My current favorite tube is the Sylvania GB 5751, second is the Raytheon 5751.
If you love the Sound of those very high dollar OTL amps like we do, look no further than a Sensation with the Dodd tube buffer and the Dodd battery supply. Your spouse and wallet will thank you many times.
I've been doing some comparing with the Accuphase and the Virtue amp.
The Virtue gives more texture to the sound, I'm listening to The Stanely Clarke Band, and in Stanley's playing, you can hear more of his workings with the bass guitar how the strings are hit, his dynamic attack on the strings and other parts of the bass, you hear him change his techniques when playing much easier,just unreal.
I took the unit apart and dampened all the caps and body with blue tack, and I believe this brought out even more focus with the sound.