VTL TP-6.5 Signature II Phonostage $18,000 Review

April 21, 2023 Comments Off on VTL TP-6.5 Signature II Phonostage $18,000 Review

Review complete except for this wrap-up: I still haven’t returned to either reference phono preamp. Grant Green’s Feelin’ the Spirit (Blue Note ST-84132/B0033488-01) plays at moderate level in the background, and both the “Tone Poet” and VTL’s 6.5 MK II nail this one. Transparency, transient precision and delicacy, harmonic richness (RVG got Herbie Hancock’s piano just right on this 1962 recording), and an enveloping sense of the large, open Englewood Cliffs studio space produce a “you are there” sensation (and I’ve been there!).

I greatly preferred the active JFET/tube input to the transformer-coupled input, though I most preferred my costly transformer into the mm input. A different cartridge or a different system might produce a different result, but I don’t think so. My only complaint about the 6.5 Mk II was that there was more background noise (“tube rush”?) than I like to hear, and I wish it had been quieter. But that’s it. Successful transplant. In an email, Luke Manley (whose signature could not be found anywhere on the “signature” phonostage) wrote that “we are selling all we can make of this design.” I believe it.


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