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    OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..



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    OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by CLEEH on Mon May 16, 2016 9:55 am

    Hi I'm new to this forum...I have been planning to buy a Bob Latino VTA st120 kit with the attenuator, tubes, cap upgrade and TDR. But I have recently seen a 8 year old Bob Latino VTA ST120 kit new in box with no tubes  (i'm not sure if it has any upgrades) that's for sale..Its $800. That doesn't seem like much of a deal IMHO. But if i can get the seller to reduce the price...
    My question is ..Does anyone see a problem with buying a 8 year old ST120 kit (no tubes) that has been sitting in a unopened box for 8 years? Are all the parts the same as in a new kit (any better upgraded parts included in a brand new kit? "or" any parts in an old kit that might not do well dryout etc. just sitting around? "or" is there any other problems that i might encounter that i cant foresee? Like i said I'm new to this forum..Thanks in advance for any advice..Chris


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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by arledgsc on Mon May 16, 2016 11:02 am

    The older ST-120 may have the "high gain" preamp board versus the "low gain" board that is currently shipping. Some think the low gain board sounds better but I never heard the high gain model. I'm sure others will chime in. If the deal is right and you prefer the low gain board it can be purchased separately for not a lot of money.

    And a hardy welcome to the forum!


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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by sKiZo on Mon May 16, 2016 1:02 pm

    I might consider replacing the caps as the clock begins ticking on those as soon as they leave the factory. Other than that, you DO get a narrower choice of tubes on the high gain board, but as has been said, people really like what they hear from the high gain board.

    One other thing you lose I believe is the CCS (Constant Current Source) function built into the low gain boards. That automatically smooths out any irregularities in current to the drivers with a corresponding increase in accuracy and sound quality. Not such a small thing for such a small thing ...

    That said, I believe updating to the newer low gain board is a simple board swap. Either the standard noval or the new octal board kit will set you back around $90. Factor that in when you get to wheedling and dealing on the kit ...

    (And don't forget to factor tubes into your budget - a decent set will cost maybe $300 and the sky's the limit.)


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    Old VTA vs New VTA Amplifier

    Post by stewdan on Mon May 16, 2016 1:35 pm

    Hi Chris --- since no one mentioned these items, I will.

    VTA Amplifier with Low Gain PCB versus High Gain PCB ----- the low gain version uses 12AU7 type tubes, the high gain version uses 12AT7 type tubes.

    If you have a separate pre-amplifier then use the low gain version, if no preamplifier, then use the high gain version.

    It is also possible to change some resistors (6 or 8, if I remember correctly) on a high gain pcb to create a "low gain" version, but without the Constant Current Source that sKiZo mentioned.  

    I have a VTA ST-120 with the low gain board which I selected because I had a separate pre-amplifier.

    Hope this info helps.


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    Post by CLEEH on Mon May 16, 2016 2:43 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks the everyone so far, either way i'm looking forward to getting started on a build. i have finished building a first rate (SS) atmos home theater and i find myself getting pulled in the DIY tube amplifier direction. Please keep the suggestions coming..that's how i have been learning this stuff.. if i see something don't know i look it up which leads me so something else ..and so on and so on ... its great. (addictive too..)
    I have to see how this option (8 year old boxed 120) plays out but if it doesn't i will be ordering a ST-120 kit very soon. ( i have to sell a Cary Cinema 7 ss amp to finance it first) I know its a shameless plug! sorry.. Laughing


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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by vtshopdog on Mon May 16, 2016 4:00 pm

    My two cents is buying a new unit from Bob gets you Bob's wonderful support should you run into issues.  That's worth quite a bit right there and should be factored into the equation regardless of what component configuration the NOS unit has.

    (kind of a "dance-with-the-one-that-brung-ya" thing on my part ....)

    Bob Latino

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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by Bob Latino on Mon May 16, 2016 5:05 pm

    As others have said ... $800 is not a great price for an 8 year old unbuilt kit. If you can get him to lower the price, it might be a good deal.

    Yes - That kit has the older higher gain board and the newer boards do have CCS (constant current source). The switch to the lower gain CCS board began in April of 2012.

    Sound wise though the old and the newer amps sound just about the same ...



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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by ArlanB on Mon May 16, 2016 6:07 pm

    I don't chime in much but I wanted you to hear from one that has one of the 8 year old VTA ST-120's from Bob.  It is as it came from Bob when I purchased the kit new in 2008 from the factory, no capacitor upgrades, and uses the high gain board.  I can't say enough about the quality of the sound.  I drive the amp with an old  Dynaco Pat 4 that I have had for years and the sound is spectacular even without all of the new fangled upgrades.  So if you are able to procure this kit, try it as it comes and if you think that it can do better go with the low gain board.  I just never found that changing a good thing was necessary just to keep up with the Joneses.


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    Re: OLD Bob Latino VTA st120 kit in box... Question..

    Post by arledgsc on Tue May 17, 2016 5:53 pm

    Whether "high" or "low" gain boards it appears the net gain of each is about the same. And with my low-gain ST-120 I don't need a preamp to get maximum power. Connected four different DACs directly to the ST-120 input and they all had sufficient signal level to blow me out of the room. Generally 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock position of the ST-120 attenuator is the typical range for my listening.

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