VTL TL-7.5 Series II upgrade anyone?

Has anyone taken their VTL 7.5 Pre-amp through the Series II upgrade announced in March? (http://www.soundstageav.com/audiovideonews.html).

I'm curious to know the sonic difference as experienced at home and whether it might be worth the $2,500 upgrade cost.

Or pehaps now might be an opportune time for me to explore the DartZeel NHB-18NS pre-amp.

Any comments appreciated.

I am attaching the press release,

LOS ANGELES — June 1st, 2006 — Recent breakthroughs have resulted in a major upgrade to one of VTL’s most important products - the TL-7.5 Reference Linestage Preamplifier. Four years after introducing the TL-7.5 to universal acclaim, VTL has revised it for an even higher level of performance. The new design, known as the TL-7.5 Series II, adapts current gain technology developed for the new TP-6.5 Signature Phono Stage. The upgrade results in a lower overall gain (20dB-balanced, 14dB single ended), as well as a dramatically lower noise floor. “During the R&D of the TP-6.5 phono stage we developed a high current circuit to resolve with very low background noise the small distances that a phono cartridge travels, and we have applied this thinking to the TL-7.5 Series II,” said Luke Manley, President of VTL. “This circuit delivers even wider frequency response as well as superior musicality and transparency, while maintaining the neutrality that the TL-7.5 Reference Line stage is famous for.” Also included in the upgrade are new parts voiced to enhance the resolution with even more speed and presence in the critical top end and midrange, plus the addition of a fully bi-directional RS-232 control for increased compatibility with modern home theater systems. US Retail pricing of Series II is set at $15000.
One assessment of the TL-7.5 Series II comes from Joe Heusi, owner of Audio Concepts in Houston, Texas: “The Series II is just so compelling, you can hear the difference immediately. There’s more punch to it, more harmonic accuracy, and it is easier to identify small differences in types of instruments used. The Series II is another significant step along the road to ultimate musical truth.” Existing Series I units are factory upgradeable for a retail cost of $2500.
The MB-450 Signature Monoblock Amplifier has evolved steadily over many years, and is a core model in VTL’s lineup. Known for its high power, high performance and ability to drive a wide range of speakers, the MB-450 now includes the “smart-tube” technology derived from VTL’s flagship Siegfried amplifier, as well as a sleek new look to match the well-received VTL Reference components. Utilizing the auto bias and fault-sensing technology first developed for the Siegfrieds, the revised
Signature amps are now even easier to use and maintain. Parts upgrades, including portions of the regulated power supply utilized in the Reference VTL 800W Siegfried monoblocks, contribute to a significant improvement in sonic performance, with much improved bass punch and dynamics. “We have transformed the MB-450 into the thoroughly modern amplifier it needed to be,” said Luke Manley. “It now looks the part, and more importantly, sounds the part of a world-class power amplifier.” The new MB-450 is priced at $13500.
The new TP-6.5 Signature Phono Stage was designed to complement the TL-6.5 and TL7.5 Linestage Preamplifiers in sonic performance, user interface and cosmetics. “Our goal was to challenge the current state of the art, and develop a reference standalone MC step up to complement our top linestage preamplifiers, the TL7.5 Series II and TL-6.5, in every way” said Luke Manley. “The new TP-6.5 will appeal to VTL’s core users who have been waiting patiently for a matching phono stage for their VTL linestages.” The new phono stage employs hybrid JFET/tube circuitry, multiple low-noise cascaded regulators and shielded power supplies, accurate 4-corner passive RIAA equalization and 69dB of gain from the balanced outputs, all in a single chassis unit. All of the required user settings are offered, via front panel and remote control: Power on/off, MC/MM input select, cartridge load adjust, gain setting, phase reversal, IEC RIAA rumble filter, mono, and mute, with a low-noise sleep microprocessor function. The design yields a wide and deep soundstage, realistic image proportions, and startling dynamic range, with massive headroom capability. VTL has tentatively set pricing for the TP-6.5 at $7500, and expects to release it in the 4th quarter of 2006.
Founded in 1987, VTL is a worldwide leader in high quality tubed amplifiers for music reproduction. The company emphasizes progressive technology, low maintenance, and natural-sounding sonics in a wide range of products designed to appeal to music lovers
Based on their description the minor shortcomings (1 major one in the gain dept) are all addressed. It should be worth while.
Thanks Dgad, it certainly sounds worth doing! (no pun intended :)

Depending on how revealing your source, amp, and speakers, the series 2 upgrade is remarkable. I listened to the series 2 with Mr. Heusi at Audio Concepts and am VERY impressed to the upgrade in sound quality. The reference system at Audio Concepts is the most revealing system I've heard to date and it's sonics are spot on neutral. The VTL holds my attention to music like no other preamp. Before hearing the improvements to the 7.5 I would have guessed that it could not have been improved on. I guessed wrong, thankfully. To my ears, it's worth the extra scratch.

What was the complete system you heard it with. Did you compare the 2 side by side? I am very interested myself but have really overdone it this year.
The system is as follows.
VTL TL7.5 Series II
Audio Artistry Vavaldi (w/ Brown Mod.)
BEL The Wire interconnect and speaker wire
I did not listen to the Series II side by side w/ the origional 7.5. However I listened to the origional 7.5 for three years as an employee of Audio Concepts, and w/ two sets of tube replacements along the way. I know it's sonic character very well. It took all of two notes of the Messiah (Robert Shaw Telarc) to hear the difference. NOT SUBTLE.
I am no longer w/ Audio Concepts. I am pursuing a different career. In fairness, I think that you should know that. I am no longer in the industry, but I feel very strongly that Luke Manley has done something wonderful w/ the Series II.
Yes it is. I sent it in for the Series II upgrade and it was worth every penny, and quite bluntly I would be very happy if it cost another $1K. The noise floor is dramatically reduced with the resulting increase in musicality. I hear the lack of noise every time I play the system, and hear more music as a result. One can use all the adjectives, added depth, air, etc. and they all apply but I believe that comes about primarily as a result of lowering the noise floor. I did not expect to discover such a large difference. In case anyone is wondering, I do not work for VTL, I have never met anyone from VTL, I am not in the industry in any way nor do I have any economic connection with VTL, directly or indirectly. If I sound like a shill it is only because I am that happy with the upgrade.
I was considering it while I sent it to VTL for service. However, many audiophile reviewers says new upgrade somehow sacrifices the sonic signature of original VTL although it definitely decrease the white noise. I tried VTL ii but preferred the sound of original VTL. Best solution would be "keep the original VTL with low voltage gain amplifiers!!!"