Herron VTPH-2A Phonostage

After waiting patiently for a long time, and missing a few chances, I was finally able to buy one of these units. It's not hard to find praises on the internet for Herron VTPH phonostages, but since Keith Herron has stopped producing new units, it is becoming harder to find 'legacy' products for sale. Besides phonostages, he also made line-stage preamps...and a few other products. Sadly, his entire herronaudio.com website is now gone, so there's no 'official' reference source for his products.
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Undeterred, I purchased a VTPH-2A off the used market. These are tube-based phonostages, with 5 tubes in the circuit. One factory configuration incorporates (2) 12AX7, and (3) 12AT7; the other configuration has (4) 12AX7, and (1) 12AT7. The difference in configuration results in different levels of gain. My unit has the (2) 12AX7 and (3) 12AT7 configuration, so a lower level in overall gain.
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The rear panel of the unit shows that there are separate inputs for MM and MC cartridges, with a toggle switch to basically adjust for the gain level between MM and MC. Alongside the MC inputs are a pair of RCA inputs for cartridge loading purposes.
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The loading 'plugs' are basically RCA plugs with resistors soldered in-situ for the desired load. The owner's manual suggests trying MC carts first with NO load (due to special circuitry), and I can't disagree with that. I listened (first) with no load (no plug) on an MC cart, and then again with appropriate loading plugs in place, and I think it comes down to personal preference. If someone has come this far in their vinyl playback journey, it is worth experimenting with loading options in order to determine the best result in their particular setup.

Okay, this concludes the background information on Herron VTPH phonostages. Listening impressions are forthcoming.
"This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon

Comments

  • jbreezy5
    jbreezy5 Posts: 1,141
    Great phono pre! Congrats!
    CD Players: Sony CDP-211; Sony DVP-S9000ES; Sony UDP-X800M2 (x2); Cambridge Audio CXC

    DACs: Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III (x2); Denafrips Ares II (x2)

    Streamers: ROKU (x3); Bluesound Node 2i and Node N130 w/LHY LPS // Receivers: Yamaha RX-V775BT; Yamaha RX-V777

    Preamps: B&K Ref 50; B&K Ref 5 S2; Classe CP-800 MkII; Audio Research SP16L (soon)

    Amps: Niles SI-275; B&K ST125.7; B&K ST125.2; Classe CA-2300; Butler Audio TDB-5150

    Speakers: Boston Acoustics CR55; Focal Chorus 705v; Wharfedale Diamond 10.2; Monitor Audio Silver-1; Def Tech Mythos One (x4)/Mythos Three Center (x2)/Mythos Two pr.; Martin Logan Electromotion ESL; Legacy Audio Victoria/Silverscreen Center; Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1; SVS SB-1000 Pro; REL HT-1003; B&W ASW610; HifiMan HE400i

    Turntable: Dual 721 Direct-Drive w/Audio Technica AT-VM95e cart

    Cables: Tripp-lite 14ga. PCs, Blue Jeans Cable ICs, Philips PXT1000 ICs; Kimber Kable DV30 coaxial ICs; Canare L-4E6S XLR ICs; Kimber Kable 8PR & 8TC speaker cables.
  • tratliff
    tratliff Posts: 1,636
    Very nice. Would love to be able to give it a listen
    2 Channel Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II, 2 REL Carbon Limited, Norma Revo IPA-140B, Lumin U2 Mini, VPI Prime w/SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC, Modwright PH 150, Denon DP-59l w/Denon DL-301MKII, AudioQuest Thunderbird Speaker and Interconnect Cables, AudioQuest Niagara 7000 w/Dragon and Hurricane Power Cables
  • I will be looking forward to your review after spending some time with it. I have been eyeballing the VTPH-1. I'm curious about the noise floor when using the MC input.
    Sources: Technics SL1200MKII | SME3009 Tonearm | Monster Alpha 1 MC cartridge | Oppo UDP203 disk player | Nikko NT-790 analog tuner | Musical Fidelity Trivista 21 DAC | Preamp: Threshold SL-10 | Amplifier: Threshold Stasis 2 | Speakers: Snell Acoustics C/V | Kimber 12-TC bi wire speakers | Analysis plus Oval 1 preamp to amp | Wireworld Eclipse 7 DAC to Preamp | Wireworld eclipse digital IC Oppo to DAC | Audioquest Quartz tuner to preamp |
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,958
    Belated thanks, guys :) I've been doing comparisons between these three:
    mf0r327rah2s.jpg
    The one on top is the Herron VTPH-2A, middle is a Bigbottle Audio 3 (BB3) (originally mentioned here:
    https://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/196639/big-bottle-audio-bb3-tube-phonostage/p1 ), and on bottom is a Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista Vinyl. These are all tube-based phonostages, and not a bad one in the bunch, so tedious testing involved.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 24,323
    What a tough job😉. Good luck Jody.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,958
    Ivan, the struggle is real! Tough, and demanding crowd here...well, except for Trey. He has zero interest in analog.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon