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    M125 Review online

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    audiobill

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    M125 Review online

    Post by audiobill on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:33 am

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    Bob Latino
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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by Bob Latino on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:34 am


    I want to thank Glenn Young of Home TheaterHiFi for taking the time to review our Tubes4hifi VTA M-125 amps. I do have to take issue with two points that the Mr. Young mentions in the review.

    1. The lack of labels on the chassis - Although we provided Mr. Young with a pair of VTA M-125 assembled amps, the VTA M-125's are normally sold as DIY (Do It Yourself) amps where the user assembles the amp himself from a parts kit. DIY amps do not normally have labels for the function of each item on the chassis. A set of function labels and/or the silk screening of the function on the chassis would add nothing to the sound of the amp but would increase the cost of the amp. Mr. Young does correctly mention that the function of each and every switch/terminal etc. is explained very clearly in the manual that comes with the amp. This appears to me to be a case of using standards seen in other USA made ASSEMBLED amps (McIntosh, Conrad Johnson, Rogue etc.) when in fact the VTA M-125's are not normally sold as assembled amps. 90 % of all VTA M-125 amps are sold to DIY enthusiasts as KITS.

    2. Mr Young's statement > "The VTA M-125s seemed to do a much better job of controlling the Thiel’s 6.5-inch ported woofers than they did with the Tekton Pendragon’s dual 10-inch woofers." The amps were shipped with Sovtek 6550WE output tubes. The Sovtek 6550's offer a very balanced sound with a very detailed and smooth top end. (This is mentioned in Mr. Young's review). If your speakers need more bass and bass control, I would suggest the Tung-Sol KT120 output tube and the use of the Weber WZ68 solid state rectifier. This combination would give the amps more bass and bass control.

    Bob
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    deepee99

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:45 pm

    Bob Latino wrote:

    I want to thank Glenn Young of Home TheaterHiFi for taking the time to review our Tubes4hifi VTA M-125 amps. I do have to take issue with two points that the Mr. Young mentions in the review.

    1. The lack of labels on the chassis - Although we provided Mr. Young with a pair of VTA M-125 assembled amps, the VTA M-125's are normally sold as DIY (Do It Yourself) amps where the user assembles the amp himself from a parts kit. DIY amps do not normally have labels for the function of each item on the chassis. A set of function labels and/or the silk screening of the function on the chassis would add nothing to the sound of the amp but would increase the cost of the amp. Mr. Young does correctly mention that the function of each and every switch/terminal etc. is explained very clearly in the manual that comes with the amp. This appears to me to be a case of using standards seen in other USA made ASSEMBLED amps (McIntosh, Conrad Johnson, Rogue etc.) when in fact the VTA M-125's are not normally sold as assembled amps. 90 % of all VTA M-125 amps are sold to DIY enthusiasts as KITS.

    2. Mr Young's statement > "The VTA M-125s seemed to do a much better job of controlling the Thiel’s 6.5-inch ported woofers than they did with the Tekton Pendragon’s dual 10-inch woofers." The amps were shipped with Sovtek 6550WE output tubes. The Sovtek 6550's offer a very balanced sound with a very detailed and smooth top end. (This is mentioned in Mr. Young's review). If your speakers need more bass and bass control, I would suggest the Tung-Sol KT120 output tube and the use of the Weber WZ68 solid state rectifier. This combination would give the amps more bass and bass control.

    Bob

    Nice review by Mr Young and good response by Mr Latino. A few points, if I may:
    1. The assembly manual for my M-125s came with very clear colour illustrations of the "under the hood" stuff, both a photo and a colour graphic IIRC. So methinks either the manual has changed or the reviewer missed a step here.
    2. I'll leave the highly subjective tube debate to the Ford v. Chevy crowd. The beauty of the VTA amps is you've got such a wide variety of tube choices available, both on the driver and the output sides. Whatever fits your speakers and ears.
    3. Re: the industrial look of VTA amps. Why doesn't some enterprising and artistic VTA Forum member (sKizo?) come up with a set of decals, featuring the VTA logo and labeling the various functions? I think Roy M. had a few made up at one time. The front panels of Roy's pre-amps are very nice labeled. The VTA decals could be offered as an option with the kits or assembled models, or as an after-market offering on the For Sale link.
    All in all, a fine review. I'll take sound quality over "user-friendly" any old day. You want pretty? Spend 10x the bux for a Mac or ARC, but your ears will suffer. Smile
    .
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    Peter W.

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:30 pm

    3. Re: the industrial look of VTA amps. Why doesn't some enterprising and artistic VTA Forum member (sKizo?) come up with a set of decals, featuring the VTA logo and labeling the various functions? I think Roy M. had a few made up at one time. The front panels of Roy's pre-amps are very nice labeled. The VTA decals could be offered as an option with the kits or assembled models, or as an after-market offering on the For Sale link.
    All in all, a fine review. I'll take sound quality over "user-friendly" any old day. You want pretty? Spend 10x the bux for a Mac or ARC, but your ears will suffer. Smile

    I am never one to put lipstick on a pig - they remain tasty with or without - and that would be the point. Permit a minor rant:

    Although there are some manufacturers past and present that made ergonomics very much part of their process, and allowed that to influence their overall appearance (Revox and Acoustic Research come to mind from opposite ends of the spectrum) to a greater degree than most, most of the better manufacturers avoided what I call the Pacific Rim syndrome - how many knobs, switches, lights, meters and functions can be crammed onto a faceplate.

    Dynaco past and VTA present tube amps are no-nonsense workhorse devices with nothing unnecessary involved - and to my mind, at least one necessary but non-functional item neglected (cover). Comparing it to an Audio Research device is a false comparison. In terms of pure function, I would posit that they are comparable at every level. The one, however, is decorator-ready, the other is not. Thick Aluminum Faceplates, indeed!

    http://www.reeltoreel.de/worldwide/Images/A720-02.jpg   On the one side.

    http://www.accurateelectronicsinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AR-R-Front-Finished.jpg   On the other.

    And Dynaco's most basic answer:   http://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/855408-dynaco-fm3-fm-tube-tuner-with-dynaco-mullard-and-other-original-tubes.jpg

    I keep all three - and of all those FM devices that I have (far too many) these are the three that will be pried from my cold, dead fingers.

    I harp, and will continue to harp, on covers. At least as an option. With grandkids, active cats (found the young guy sleeping on the third shelf in the library (5' high) the other day) and active dogs around as often as not, open tubes are simply not in the offing.

    In any case, the reviewer does recognize the very real achievements realized in VTA equipment. And at the price, in these troubled times there is nothing available new that is any better. Or at much more than the price.
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    deepee99

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:40 pm

    Peter W. wrote:3. Re: the industrial look of VTA amps. Why doesn't some enterprising and artistic VTA Forum member (sKizo?) come up with a set of decals, featuring the VTA logo and labeling the various functions? I think Roy M. had a few made up at one time. The front panels of Roy's pre-amps are very nice labeled. The VTA decals could be offered as an option with the kits or assembled models, or as an after-market offering on the For Sale link.
    All in all, a fine review. I'll take sound quality over "user-friendly" any old day. You want pretty? Spend 10x the bux for a Mac or ARC, but your ears will suffer. Smile

    I am never one to put lipstick on a pig - they remain tasty with or without - and that would be the point. Permit a minor rant:

    Although there are some manufacturers past and present that made ergonomics very much part of their process, and allowed that to influence their overall appearance (Revox and Acoustic Research come to mind from opposite ends of the spectrum) to a greater degree than most, most of the better manufacturers avoided what I call the Pacific Rim syndrome - how many knobs, switches, lights, meters and functions can be crammed onto a faceplate.

    Dynaco past and VTA present tube amps are no-nonsense workhorse devices with nothing unnecessary involved - and to my mind, at least one necessary but non-functional item neglected (cover). Comparing it to an Audio Research device is a false comparison. In terms of pure function, I would posit that they are comparable at every level. The one, however, is decorator-ready, the other is not. Thick Aluminum Faceplates, indeed!

    http://www.reeltoreel.de/worldwide/Images/A720-02.jpg   On the one side.

    http://www.accurateelectronicsinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AR-R-Front-Finished.jpg   On the other.

    And Dynaco's most basic answer:   http://img.usaudiomart.com/uploads/large/855408-dynaco-fm3-fm-tube-tuner-with-dynaco-mullard-and-other-original-tubes.jpg

    I keep all three - and of all those FM devices that I have (far too many) these are the three that will be pried from my cold, dead fingers.

    I harp, and will continue to harp, on covers. At least as an option. With grandkids, active cats (found the young guy sleeping on the third shelf in the library (5' high) the other day) and active dogs around as often as not, open tubes are simply not in the offing.

    In any case, the reviewer does recognize the very real achievements realized in VTA equipment. And at the price, in these troubled times there is nothing available new that is any better. Or at much more than the price.
    Peter, a non-sarcastic question for you: If you couldn't avail yourself of a VTA, what would be your druthers? (Old Dynacos don't count.) Regardless of price.
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    Peter W.

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:07 pm


    Peter, a non-sarcastic question for you: If you couldn't avail yourself of a VTA, what would be your druthers? (Old Dynacos don't count.) Regardless of price.[/quote]

    Hmmm.... Opining only on those things I have actually heard, or heard analogs/clones at sufficient length to be meaningful, and excepting existing inventory. And with the following qualifications:

    For the Magnepan MG-IIIas in the library, the McIntosh MC500. These speakers run in a large room and my big Scott LK150 just does not cut it.

    For the AR3as in the living room, it would be a tie between the CJ Premier 11 (I really like 5751 drivers), and perhaps a pair of McIntosh 2301s. But, as cost is no object, there is a custom builder in Australia, Patrick Turner, from whom I would prefer to commission for parts for a custom self-built device. Sadly, he no longed does complete devices.

    http://www.turneraudio.com.au/

    For everything else, and if vintage Dynaco is off the table - any given current VTA product (with a cover) would do nicely. Nor would I be disappointed in a VTA product for the AR3as. Nor would a Dynaco 416 go amiss. I had one for years, until the HK Citation 16 supplanted it and a friend made me an offer I could not refuse - he remains a friend.

    Active speakers in the inventory (as of today) include:

    MG-IIIa
    AR3a
    AR M5, 4x, 25, Athena
    Dynaco A35

    All of which benefit from more power rather than less, all other things being equal. That should explain a good deal of my prejudices.
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    deepee99

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:24 pm

    Peter W. wrote:
    Peter, a non-sarcastic question for you: If you couldn't avail yourself of a VTA, what would be your druthers? (Old Dynacos don't count.) Regardless of price.

    Hmmm.... Opining only on those things I have actually heard, or heard analogs/clones at sufficient length to be meaningful, and excepting existing inventory. And with the following qualifications:

    For the Magnepan MG-IIIas in the library, the McIntosh MC500. These speakers run in a large room and my big Scott LK150 just does not cut it.

    For the AR3as in the living room, it would be a tie between the CJ Premier 11 (I really like 5751 drivers), and perhaps a pair of McIntosh 2301s. But, as cost is no object, there is a custom builder in Australia, Patrick Turner, from whom I would prefer to commission for parts for a custom self-built device. Sadly, he no longed does complete devices.

    http://www.turneraudio.com.au/    

    For everything else, and if vintage Dynaco is off the table - any given current VTA product (with a cover) would do nicely. Nor would I be disappointed in a VTA product for the AR3as. Nor would a Dynaco 416 go amiss. I had one for years, until the HK Citation 16 supplanted it and a friend made me an offer I could not refuse - he remains a friend.

    Active speakers in the inventory (as of today) include:

    MG-IIIa
    AR3a
    AR M5, 4x, 25, Athena
    Dynaco A35

    All of which benefit from more power rather than less, all other things being equal. That should explain a  good deal of my prejudices.
    [/quote]

    Sounds about right. I had the Maggie IIs, and the A-35s here in the den which IMHO were a pure stroke of genius -- sorry I parted with them. I would put Heils up there on the list, too. The Maggies' tweeter coils were shot so I needed some high-end, which the ESS Heils provided in great fashion. Had the Maggies and the Heils strapped up in parallel and hooked up to my M-125s. Can't quite suss the math but I'm guessing the load dipped below 1 ohm every now and then. Aside from the blown rectifier from time to time, the M-125s handled 'em just fine. My Dad had a pair of AR-3s, driven by Scotts and Fishers, and they could rock the room. He was quite the carpenter, so he built a Corner-horn into a cocktail bar. Good times.

    Dogstar

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by Dogstar on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:27 pm

    Regarding the labeling of the VTA ST-70 and 120 amp chassis it seems that since the labeling for the openings for the various switches and components are wrong you could save some money for fabrication by removing them as well. Though maybe it would be more trouble than its worth at this point.

    What works best I think is a minimalist labeling layout like this:


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    Peter W.

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by Peter W. on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:32 pm

    Dogstar wrote:Regarding the labeling of the VTA ST-70 and 120 amp chassis it seems that since the labeling for the openings for the various switches and components are wrong you could save some money for fabrication by removing them as well. Though maybe it would be more trouble than its worth at this point.

    What works best I think is a minimalist labeling layout like this:




    https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=chartpak+letters&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=174218463735&hvpos=1t2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17140778888107073981&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007378&hvtargid=kwd-3142481443&ref=pd_sl_6fmcmsommg_e

    Sorry for the long URL, but ChartPak lettering is still available, and while a bit of a PITA to apply keep straight and 'fix', it comes in sufficient variety of fonts to allow for some artistry. Yes, it works on metal.
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    jfine

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by jfine on Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:17 pm

    I never even noticed there were no labels, I guess if you don't know what something does, maybe you should RTFM.

    I've been running mine lately with JBL L300's. 15" woofers. I haven't noticed any problems at all. In fact, these drive the L300's in the bass department WAY better than a MC402 SS amp I used to own. They go lower, much better articulation, and punchier. Maybe the SS amp could've provided more steam at ear bleeding SPL's, but never used it like that so don't care.

    Mine use KT88 Gold Lions w/GZ37 rectifier.

    Maybe KT120's and SS rectifier would be even better, but it sounds good as is.
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    cci1492

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by cci1492 on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:41 am

    Nice review. But, you don't buy a hot rod or a chopper and then ask where the built in GPS and Bluetooth features are located.

    jasn54

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    Re: M125 Review online

    Post by jasn54 on Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:06 am

    cci1492 wrote:Nice review. But, you don't buy a hot rod or a chopper and then ask where the built in GPS and Bluetooth features are located.

    This

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