I previously used this successfully with a Levinson 27 and also a Levinson 333 amp. It is a terrific pre-amp for the price and there were no problems with it. It seems the used price has gone up. When I purchased it on audiogon a few years ago, the model with phonostage cost me $700. I see that asking prices have gone up to the $900-$1000 range without phono stage.
I only sold it because I upgraded to the 5.5. There is a difference, but I can't say it is as much as the price difference between the two.
For the money, I know of very little that competes with the VTL TL 2.5. Very engaging, excellant volume control, solid build, huge soundstage and black background. IMHO. Email me if you have more questions.
I love mine and agree with all of the above. If you decide to get one, check the tube types used in the year it was built. I seem to remember reading somewhere that changes were made along the way. Mine uses 12AT7's and 12AU7's. Tube rolling can be very rewarding.
I've enjoyed it for years in a dedicated second system.
To get the most out of it replace the stock tubes with Telefunkens and it becomes a real sleeper.
In fact, warmed up it competes with much more expensive units and easily beats the 5.5 unless tubes are rolled in it.
I recently was looking to simplify and downsize when I bought a tube integrated amp, but could not live with the results.
The trade off was so huge, I would rather pass on having the system if it didn't have the 2.5 in it.
A true bargin and keeper.
How would this amp pair with either a Bryston 4B SST or
Mac252 amp, and Focal-JM Labs 800 series speakers?
I owned a 2.5 for a couple of years, and it is a real bargain. The optional phono stage is quite nice as well. Tubed with Mullard/Telefunken tubes, it really soared. The MultiCap upgrade from VTL was worthwhile, and inexpensive. My dealer let me borrow a Classe' preamp while the 2.5 was at VTL, and I really missed it.
Consistently excellent results with VTL ST-85, MB-125's and ST-150. I used it with a Plinius SA-100mkII for a few months as well...nice sounding combo, but I went back to an all-tube system.
In an all-tube system, I preferred Tele's. With the Plinius, the slightly warmer tone of the Mullard tubes worked best.
I bought a second-hand unit in 1999. I have enjoyed the unit and have had no problems with it. With the solid metal remote, I also find the build quality outstanding for the price I paid. Although I have not replaced the stock tubes or caps, I am now interested in the positive statements of others as to these mods.
I agree with the above comments, I have one and have used it with both a VTL st85 and my Mac 252, sounds very nice with both, very nice phone stage too, just a fine value, I heard VTL prices are going up,so you may want to snag one now.
I don't think you can go wrong with the 2.5. This preamp gave me what I was looking for: large and deep soundstage, more detail and that tube quality that makes music and instruments more dimensional and life-like. I was also considering the Cary 98 at the time and tried out both in my system (ss amp and planars)and thought the 2.5 sounded better: they were both excellent but the VTL had a tubier sound, which I like. I bought mine a few years ago and later added some NOS Mullards for both the 12au7s and 12at7s. The Mullards gave it a bit more of the rich tube sound without any loss in detail.
just brought the 2.5 home, hooked up, and playing. You guys were right, thanks :)
Clarity also seems remarkable, coming from my Rotel pre-amp!
I've had the 2.5 for quite a while. I have used various solid state amps and rolled quite a few tubes in and out of the 2.5. I currently have NOS RCA Clear Tops that sound amazing with that Pre. I also own a 5.5 that I use in my main system. I have tried Tung-Sol, Mullards, JJ's, Electro Harmonix, and RCA's sound sweet to me(IMOH). I have used Parasound 2200, Aragon 8008, Conrad 2500 and McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe and DNA-225(current) SS amps, and tried VTL ST-85 and 150 tube amps. I find the DNA-225 with my Maggie 3.6's works for me in our house with rock and Jazz we like. I think you'll enjoy what you bought. Good choice. Have fun....
Can you pls describe the maggie 3.6 specifics.
What are they known for?
Also, the DNA amp.
Excellent preamp and one of the biggest bargains in hifi. Very airy sounding with good details and musicality.
It's a great preamp that I can vouch for as well. Being my entry into tube gear I can say it's a blessing to listen to music through.
I used to have the 2.5 about 6 years ago, and I did the same thing, came from Rotel equipment. I remember the difference was astounding. This is an excellent step for you from where you were with Rotel, and it takes you in a completely different direction-in a good way. I eventually upgraded to the 5.5 brand new, which I have now and I couldn't be happier with it, well thats not completely true...I would be happier with a 6.5.
Enjoy this preamp, it is (as others have mentioned) an excellent bargain, and lots and lots of fun to own. I would disagree though with someone saying the difference between 2.5 and 5.5 is not worth the $$-it is The Caps are totally different and both pieces sound very different. A 2.5 is an excellent value and maybe best sounding in its class, a 5.5 on the other hand, can be the last Preamp you will ever need to own. Working in steps is the best thing to do and you made a great choice for this step. Enjoy!
I have owned mine for about a year and 1/2. About 6 months after having it I took it to Steve Huntley @ Great Northern Sound Co. and for $700 he transformed it. It certainly wasn't "bad" to begin with, he just said there was room for improvement, and he was right. I have not heard the 5.5, allthough may grab one just to try the balanced connections to compliment my new 185 signature MB's.
Through my local dealer there is about $1500 difference between the 2.5 vs 5.5 and if $700 worth of tweeks can get it sonically matched, I don't know if the balanced outs and phase reversal circuit is worth $800?
Time will tell as I am keeping my eyes peeled for a used 5.5.
What are the tweaks you did to the 2.5?
95% power supply.
Steve had some brackets machined that set where the phono stage would reside, and added 4 big caps.
All of the supply diodes were replaced with the high speed variety, and added extra filtering to the incoming ac.
Some of the critical signal caps were replaced with higher quality ones, and noise supressing tape was added at various points through out to help quiet it down.
The RCA greyplates I put in are a tad noisy, but the mods performed spread the noise accross the soundstage which became Much, Much larger, I would assume due to the power supply changes.