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    Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening



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    Join date : 2013-10-16

    Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening

    Post by EddieGnz1 on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:45 pm

    I have been thoroughly enjoying my VTA ST-120 for over a year now and I'm ready to share my thoughts.

    From 1985 through 1997 I worked in the Hi-Fi audio industry either installing or selling high end systems.  Krell, B&W Nautilus, Conrad Johnson Art, Martin Logan Monolith or CLX, etcetera.  I have also heard myriad configurations involving Wilson Watt, Mark Levinson, Pass Labs, Sonus Faber, and the list goes on.  My ear has extensive training with live unplugged music as well...and while I don't know much about building tube amps, I can hear subtle nuances fairly well.

    The short version is that the VTA ST-120 from Bob Latino is better than most amps that cost over $5,000.  I was utterly shocked that I was getting this level of quality since I only paid around ~$1,300 if I recall.

    I have the amp connected directly to the Oppo BDP-103 and then out of the amp directly into the Martin Logan Monolith III.  A very simple three step for the signal.  I have mid grade MIT wires.  The Oppo is actively crossing the VTA ST-120 at 120Hz with the low pass going to a JBL powered 12 inch sub.

    The sound is breath taking. One audiophile friend told me that it sounds better than the sixty thousand dollar system he had recently heard. Another audiophile told me it sounded better than a thirty thousand dollar pass lab system. Of course the amp is not the only component they hear, those Monolith III are serious speakers....that said however, i've never heard the Monolith III sound so natural and so rich and smooth. The detail is so natural that I just dream of listening to my system and I get so excited when i'm about to have a nice listening session. The vocals are the best i've ever heard period. Imaging is truly stunning


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    Re: Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening

    Post by MontanaWay on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:04 pm

    this is exactly what many, who have either the ST70, ST120 or M125 are experiencing.
    I have always believed that with tubes, 'the less is better'!
    One does not at all need fancy complicated filters in the circuit, and a lot of other add ons that some of those so called high end systems seem to employ.
    All you need is enough to guide that analog signal into, through and out of that tube in such a way that it does not get screwed with too much, its really that simple!
    The VTA series driver boards are the best proof of that philosophy........its the old KISS principle....KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!


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    Re: Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:15 pm

    About a year now here too, and still lovin' it ... Runs rings around my old McIntosh MC2205 for smiles per mile.

    Tubes? I'm running a quad of TungSol KT120's with a Mullard GZ37 rectifier. Drivers are an RCA Command 12BH7A in the center with Westinghouse Star 5963's in the channels.

    Gregg R.

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    Re: Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening

    Post by Gregg R. on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:03 pm

    I have had my VTA ST-70 for about 14 mos., built from kit; Bob's instructions and packing are superb, much better than the original ST-70. The VTA ST-120 is a beefier version of the ST-70. I hadn't built anything, other than cables, since the mid 1970s.

    I came to the Bob Latino/tubes4hifi amps after buying a Chinese amp, and having it fail after about two months.

    After some tube-rolling, I've settled on a 1970s Tesla 12au7 in the center position, and NOS RCA 5963s in the outside places. I have salvaged the Shuguang KT-88s from the Chinese amp with the addition of a Valve Art KT-88 from yenaudiostore on eBay: the prop. worked with me to find a single tube to match the three that still worked. The Valve Art appears to be identical to Shuguangs. I now have five (5) sets of power tubes and numerous combinations of drivers. This current combination sounds the best in my system; your system may require a different setup. The DAC/pre-amp is a Grace Design M920, but it's very pricey. I left all my many LPs in Milwaukee, 20 years ago.

    The VTA ST-70 replaced a low-power Brit boutique amp that listed at $2k. And an NAD before that. For less than $1k, built from kit and fully tubed, the VTA amp is vastly superior to what I was using. In addition, you gain the ability to tube-roll, shading the sound to suit your tastes.

    I'm glad you are enjoying your VTA ST-120; I sure like my lower-powered version!!


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    Re: Review of VTA ST-120 After One Year Listening

    Post by arledgsc on Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:39 am

    I'm coming up on 2.5 years and think my ST-120 amp is sounding better as time rolls on.  With the right set of tubes and I am wanting for nothing.  The $2,000 sand amp sits idle as I can only tolerate its clinical sound for very short periods. The ST-120 makes recorded music much more enjoyable.

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