TP6.5 Signature Phono Preamplifier

vtl-6.5

The TP-6.5 Signature Phono Stage is designed to complement and match the TL-6.5 and TL7.5 Linestage Preamplifiers in sonic performance, user interface and cosmetics. This all-new product was designed from the ground up to redefine the current state of the art in standalone MC step ups and to stand as a reference phono stage worthy of the top VTL linestage preamplifiers, the TL7.5 Series III and TL-6.5 Series II.

The TP-6.5 will appeal to current VTL linestage owners who have been waiting patiently for a matching phono stage. The phono stage employs hybrid JFET/tube circuitry for quiet operation, multiple low-noise cascaded regulators and shielded power supplies for dynamics, accurate 4-corner passive RIAA equalization and 68dB of gain from the balanced outputs, all in a single chassis unit. All of the required user settings are offered via the front panel as well as by remote control.

The new design yields a wide and deep soundstage, realistic image proportions, and startling dynamic range and speed, with massive headroom capability and low noise. The TP-6.5 easily resolves the most delicate and nuanced aspects of music, such as in the way the sustain and decay of instruments are captured; yet at the same time it retains the classic VTL characteristic of solid and controlled bass.

The TP6.5 also offers a high quality transformer Moving Coil step up option, both to offer a low-noise MC step up, and a second MC stage. This second MC input replaces the original MM input that is normally standard in the TP6.5 Phono Stage, and uses the existing MM input to provide access to the transformer MC step up.

The addition of the step up transformer allows both for appropriate loading for very low-output cartridges, and the flexibility of handling different cartridges with different step up methods, as in some cases certain cartridges can sound substantially better with transformers than they do with active gain stages. The transformer also allows the cartridge to be loaded via the transformer, instead of via the loading resistor, retaining as much of the signal available from these cartridges as possible.

Switching between the inputs is done only after the signal has been amplified, avoiding signal losses inherent in switching the fragile MC signal straight from the cartridge.

This option offers the maximum MC cartridge handling flexibility, and also accommodates multiple arm/cartridge setups with multiple MC cartridges, as both inputs can be connected simultaneously.

TP-6.5
TP-6.5 Back View
TP-6.5 Internal View
TP-6.5 IR Remote Control

Functionality features

Full front panel functionality:

  • Input select
  • Load setting: MC: 100, 250, 470, 1K, 2.5K, 4.7K, 47K and User Defined, and MM – 10k, 22k, 47k and User Defined.
  • Load setting for MC Step Up:  47, 100, 470, 1.0K Ohms
  • Mono switch
  • Phase flip, absolute, and channel to channel
  • RIAA select, for Enhanced RIAA and Rumble cut
  • Mute
  • MC Gain adjust: 5 steps of 6dB: 44dB, 50dB, 56dB, 62dB, 68dB
  • MC Step Up Option Gain:  65 dB balanced output, 59 dB single-ended output

Remote controllable

  • Power
  • Input select
  • Mute
  • Phase reverse
  • Rumble cut
  • Mono
  • Gain
  • Cartridge Load

Circuit Features:

  • 2 single ended inputs, with discrete load settings for each input
  • Single-ended and Balanced outputs, with 68dB total gain balanced
  • Active Hybrid low noise J-FET driving high current 12AU7 mc gain stage for highest resolution of small signal levels
  • All high fidelity tubes: 12AU7, 12AX7, 12AT7, all operating in linear range
  • Accurate 4-corner passive RIAA filter, with split pole for greater accuracy
  • Zero loop feedback
  • Gain trims for accurate channel to channel balance
  • Signature and Reference-level coupling capacitors
  • Shock mounted gain stages for resistance to vibration interference
  • Extensive RF filtering on AC path
  • Switchable RF filtering on both inputs
  • Low radiation UI core power transformers, with dual mono supplies, and separate logic supply
  • Dual mono multiple cascaded precision-regulated and shielded power supplies for low noise, with film bypass for high frequency performance
  • High quality transformer MC step up option for low noise and excellent match to low-output MC cartridges
  • Quiet sleep mode on processor when not in use
  • Quiet 7-segment LED display on the front panel (for gain and load display)

Physical features:

  • Rigid braced steel and aluminum chassis for EMI, RF, and hum shielding with minimal interference from vibration
  • All noisy components steel shielded for low RF and hum radiation
  • Additional steel shielding on amplifier section for lowest noise
  • Matching cosmetics to the TL6.5 and TL-7.5 Linestage Preamplifiers

Documentation

pdficon_smallTP-6.5 Data Sheet

Technical Specifications

Vacuum Tube Complement 2 x 12AU7 MC (MC Stage), 2 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AT7MM, 2 x 12AT7
Inputs 2 pairs single-ended/RCA
Outputs 1 pair balanced out XLR out, 1 pair single-ended RCA out
Remote control functions Power, MC/MM Source Select, Gain up/down, Mute, Rumble, Load, Mono, Phase
Maximum Gain MC: 62dB single ended, 68dB balanced, MM: 35dB single ended, 40dB balanced
Output Impedance 150Ω
Input Impedance (Cartridge Load) Selectable MC: 100Ω, 250Ω, 470Ω, 1kΩ, 2.5kΩ, 4.7kΩ, 47kΩ, User Defined
Selectable MM: 10kΩ, 22kΩ, 47kΩ, User Defined
Frequency response +0-1 dB 1Hz – 100kHz
Maximum Output Voltage <1% THD 10 VRMS @ 1kHz (10kΩ load)
Channel Separation >70dB @ 1kHz (>65dB @ 20kHz)
Power Consumption 80 Watts
Dimensions W x D x H 17.5 x 17 x 4.75 inches (44.45 x 44.45 x 12.06 cm)
Weight 50lbs (22.72kg) Fully packed in one box

VTL TP6.5

… The first thing you notice is the greater control and articulation in the low range of the VTL, which is to be expected knowing that this is a key signature of the “family sound” of the company.

… The soundstage is monumental, but the VTL has a clear margin in the depths of the soundstage and the focus of soloists. This is the same feeling that I had when I did the comparison between the line preamps of the two brands [ARC is the other brand in the comparison]: the VTL gives the feeling of a “blackest black” in a note.

As for the MC input, known as I have a distinct preference for passive stage, I have to recognize, however, that with cartridges designed for active stages, for example with the Clearaudio Goldfinger, you get a better result: in the case of Goldfinger the feeling of having removed the handbrake and in the Lyra Titan, to date the only low impedance cartridge which I think can sound good with an active state, the difference between the two configurations is reduced to a matter of taste, a hair more punch and speed for MC Step Up transformer, and a hair of airiness and tonal neutrality to the active input.

…So, sooner or later it had to happen: after years of honorable service the [ARC] Reference Phono glorious career was beaten, though not humiliated and obviously I have not heard all the phono stages of creation, … I have no doubt in saying that the VTL TP-6.5 is clearly my new phono stage reference.

Read the full review here…

- Marco Benedetti, Audio Review, No298, Italy, February 2009