Sound Valves VTA-70i Amplifiers

VTA-70i

300 Watt Tube Power Amplifier (Sold as a kit or preassembled)

User Reviews (13)

Showing 1-10 of 13  
SunHawk7   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 18, 2002]
Strength:

Usable power, transparency, sound stage and air surrounding vocalists and instruments. It gives impact and emotion to music. Looks beautiful in a darkened room with the tubes and blue power lights softly glowing.

Weakness:

Must be mated with the efficient speakers. Can play my critical Acoustat Electrostatic speakers, but the sound is flat as if it can''t escape far beyond the panels. Still, it is surprising that it can even play them at all. Those electostatics have clicked off protection circuits in many solid state amps and it took an amp which cost nearly four times as much as this little tube amp to really make them sing. Substandard silkscreening on the outside of the unit. I have accidently, and very easily, rubbed off markings on the rear of the unit by just brushing against them.

This is my first tube amp and it exceeded my expectations. I got it as a new kit off of Ebay for $500 and thought it would be a fun project. The instructions were clear, but I am a real beginner when it comes to electronics. Turned out to be a very easy kit to assemble and I got it up and running in about 3 hrs by myself. After a good burn in, I was surprised out how good this little 35 wpc amp sounds! Very clean with a bottom end that was much more powerful with my Jamo speakers than I was expecting. But mainly, the sound is warm, but uncolored and filled with shimmery detail. I recently hooked in a Sony SCD-C333ES SACD player, played Wynton Marsalis''s Standard Time SACD and his unmuted horn sounded like it was going to reach through the ceiling. The notes just seemed to hang there forever. The transparency, sound stage and immediacy made this the closest I have ever heard to a live performance in my home. The amp just seems to wrap itself around instruments and vocalists and deliver them with a breathy air. This amp brought so much presence and emotion to my music that I''ve sat for hours just listening to it. It made my Nakamichi 250 wpc PA-7 sound sterile and harsh in comparison. Recently listening to an expensive reference system in an audio store, consisting of an SACD player, B&W separates, Sonus Faber speakers and high end power conditioning and cabling was the most telling. My wife summed it up, pointing out that the sound was veiled in comparison. It was like we were listening to a very nice stereo system rather than experiencing the music. For me, that said it all. In twenty five years this is the most inexpensive and most satisfying amp I''ve ever owned. It is a great entry into tube equipment.

Similar Products Used: AMC tube pre-amp, Nakamichi, Denon, Carver, SAE, McIntosh, Conrad Johnson
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bert   Audiophile [Jul 16, 2000]
Strength:

designed by harry klauss and tested for three years prior to release

Weakness:

sound valves isn't political and they don't push their product to magazines for reviews, it would be nice to see it rated against the big names

I heard them all at the stores. The ML with logans, the se tube designs etc. Can you trust your ears from what you hear at the store vs your home? I have heard the SV-M60 compared to a suped up chey i.e a stock car. This making it superior to anything on the road including a porche. But it falls short of indy cars or formula one. So this would mean to me you need to get point to point silver wire, potted SE transformers, WE 300B, all gold contacts, etc. In other words buy an amp easily three times as expensive and you will outperfom the M60. That said quoting the SV literature, knowing that the amps were designed by Harry klauss who worked at Dynaco and Hafler in leadership roles, that he spent three years laying out the circuit for the M60 after all his years of design experience, these amps provide one of the most stable and consistent and elegantly musically accurate choices available today at a factory direct price. www.soundvalves.com They blow the likes of the favorably reviewed Golden Tube and Assemblage and quicksilver products away. If the audio review world ever bases it's opinions on performance and value vs politics and bias then I am glad to have gotten such a deal on an amazing performer before the price gets inflated.

Similar Products Used: hafler, sony, NAD
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robert   Audiophile [May 01, 2000]
Strength:

Improved over the Dynaco 70's, Easy biasing with LED's

Weakness:

Hard to upgrade with circuit boards, Use of Pentode front end tube.

This is an excellent amplifier for starting a tube system and getting acquainted with tube musicality. Definitely better than the stock Dynaco 70's, but hard to change caps and upgrade power supplies, due to limited chassis space and circuit board, LED biasing easy and convenient. Kit pricing high compared to other amplifiers. A good starter amplifier for tube systems.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Scott Davis   [Dec 01, 1999]

Not a review but an announcement. This amp will be available again in kit form sometime in January of 2000. They are getting the transformers in mid December. There are some "cosmetically challenged" chassis available for $100-$150 off. Dynaco amps had a cult following back in my college days. I'm looking forward to getting mine.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Art Kiel   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 04, 2001]
Strength:

Sound, clarity, price, design, power, customer support

Weakness:

manual bias control, not very well known

A very solid performing amp. Compact with a split 35/35 watts stereo or 70 watts mono but delivers on every level. Sound Valves is slowly making a name for themselves but like most " unheard of " tube audio companies, they focus more on their product than their advertising. The end result is that a great, relatively cheap (for Class A/Class AB Tube Components), sound piece of audiophile equipment. If you are reading this, odds are you are thinking about getting into tube audio. With 20-30 years of audio experience under my belt, I can tell you that the Sound Valves VTA-70i is a great place to start. If you can find the upgraded " gold " series VTA-70i ( the " i " stands for " improved "), grab it! For the money, you're not going to find a better tube amp anywhere. Great soundstaging, great clarity, bass and midrange are tight and clean, and there's plenty of power to shake the walls. Match this amp with a tube pre (also offered by Sound Valves) or a hybrid pre....and you'll take your music listening experience to the next level. This amp can and will drive nearly every speaker out there. You'll have to adjust the bias on a fairly regular basis but that's a small price to pay for such a great piece of equipment. If you are looking to get into tube audio, this amp should be at the top of your list.

Similar Products Used: dynaco, Marantz Tube, Jolida
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
J. Watson   Audiophile [Jan 18, 2002]
Strength:

build, price, sound

Weakness:

none

Actually this is another follow up to a review written below. I've had some e-mails asking me what I did pay $550.00 for since I misquoted my " price paid " price in a prior review. I stated I had purchased a VTA-70i tube amp for $550.00 when actually it was the Sound Valves VTP-101i preamp which I was able to get for $550.00. They sell for around $800.00 new directly from Sound Valves for just the basic unit. I bought the preamp to pair with my Sound Valves VTA-70i and they pair nicely. I can't recommend these units enough to those interested in getting into tube gear. Please go over to the preamp section for my review of the VTP-101i preamp. Sorry for the confunsion.

Similar Products Used: Jolida, Counterpoint, Carver
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jerry Jim   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 18, 2002]
Strength:

Durable, sound, looks, strength, reliable

Weakness:

none

Just wanted to chime in with my 2-cents on this great little amp. Actually I wasn't looking to get into tube amps and had been very happy with my Hafler set-up for over 10 years. When my Hafler went down due to a power line surge, I started looking around. I came across Sound Valves when looking for a place to send my Hafler for repairs. I was interested and for the price, I couldn't see a down side to trying something new. I am glad I made the switch. It's tough to describe what tubes can do to a system. To simply say it " opened up " my music is an understatement. Initially when I got the amp out of the box and hooked it up, I only noticed a slight difference from my Hafler. But after several hours of continuous play....my system just came alive. I am hearing sounds and notes and detail in music I've listen to for years. It's almost like going to the opera and listening with ear muffs on and then taking them off. That's what I felt this tube amp did for my system. Slowly I am making to switch to all tube gear...and loving every minute of it. If you really want to " hear " your music....get into tube. And for the price, you can't beat this little amp. I recommend it to any and all who are interested.

Similar Products Used: Dyna, Hafler, McIntosh
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bill   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 25, 2001]
Strength:

clarity,price,warmth,ease of construction

Weakness:

limited power

bought 2 kits @ 650 each a little over a year ago. gold front plate was being discontinued. haven't built a kit since 1974 but these went together relatively easily. when my counterpoint went south, i decided to go tubes and took advantage of the special to bi-amp my bw 640's. the speakers really opened up with the tubes. nice sound, reasonably good fit and finish - the gold is ok but i like the black better, but i did like saving 250 per amp. i'd buy again.

Similar Products Used: counterpoint sa100
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
J. Watson Moyers   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 23, 2001]
Strength:

Soundstage, design, designer, Great Customer Support from Company, simplicity of design, solid as a rock and runs clean all day!

Weakness:

My 1st tube amp so I don't have any reference against other tube amps. However, I will say that this amp was a DRAMATIC improvement over my previous solid-state amps (Crown, McIntosh, Adcom, Rotel)

I purchased this little amp directly from Sound Valves after losing out on a VTA-70i on Ebay. After I lost the auction, I sought out Sound Valves and easily found them via a web search engine. I told them of my loss on Ebay and was informed that they luckily had one " new " upgraded VTA-70i with a brushed gold metal face which had recently been discountinued (the gold face option, not the VTA-70i itself). Since the unit had been discontinued, the good people at Sound Valves sold it to me at around 1/2 the asking price for a brand new, factory built VTA-70i. I had been using a McIntosh 2105 amp in conjunction with the greatest preamp ever made by Bob Carver, the stellar 4000t, and before that had been an Adcom 555MK II. Most of my experience has been in low to mid mid-range gears but I wanted to get into tubes and simply thought that most good quality tube gears were financially out of my reach. Then I came across Sound Valves. I can't recommend this amp enough! Once this amp passed its " break in " stage, its' impact was overwhelming. I couldn't believe the difference in sound quality, clarity, and the openess of the sound stage. It was like my system had been inside a can and the VTA-70i simply " opened the can " ! The warmth and reproduction of my jazz and classical CD's was stunning. Because of this experience, I have completely changed direction with respects to where I was headed with my system. I have since switched over to a hybrid Counterpoint PreAmp and upgraded to a Sony SACD CD Player. I will eventually move to an all tube preamp/amp system and wouldn't have even considered doing so had I not come across this little " find ". I have a relatively large listening room and are only driving four speakers. The VTA-70i has had no trouble driving my sets of B&W speakers (CDM 9NT & DM 302). I thought about upgrading to another tube amp which is Pure Class A....but right now I just can't seem to find a good reason to do so. If you find this Amp for under $1000.00....grab it! If there is a better sounding, better performing tube amp in this price range....I'd like to know about it!

Similar Products Used: none, 1st tube amp.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Frank D'Angelo   Audiophile [Nov 10, 2001]
Strength:

price, sound, quality

Weakness:

limited upgrade ability

Was getting into tube but didn't want to spend a lot to do so. Heard about the Sound Valves from friends and Internet " buzz ". Happened to find one for sale via the Internet at my local tube audio store. I was immediately interested but somewhat apprehensive because of the price. My understanding has been that with tube audio, you've got to spend multiple thousands of dollars to get a great sound. I guess not. The immediate impact of this amp to my system was nothing short of amazing. Once the unit broke in, the sound just opened up and filled my sound room. I'm not in the know to provide technical data but if you are looking for a great amp, the VTA-70 series simply can't be beat. Great looking, great sounding, and fun to watch.

Similar Products Used: HH Scott, Rotel, CRV Sunfire
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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