VTPH-2A Vacuum Tube Phono Preamplifier
titaniun gray face
silver and black face plates also available
all face plates are 1/2 inch thick brushed anodized aluminum
Silver Gray Black
back panel - click on image for larger view
LIVE, in-your-room clarity
Totally unique tube circuitry configuration:
high end performance with very low distortion
exceptionally low noise using tubes
extended tube life
Immediately You Know!
None of that harshness, dryness, or hardness that most solid state phono stages produce.
"Pick up an acoustic instrument and the better it is, the greater the sense of life, of energy just waiting to burst forth. This is exactly the quality that the Herron phono-stage captures. All that texture it brings to instruments is built on micro-dynamic definition and the ability to capture the harmonic envelope, the pattern of energy that extends from instruments."
"The colour and ability to reveal each step in the growing intensity of a crescendo mark out the beautiful balance that the VTPH-2 strikes between the instrumental detail that gives music its beauty and the body and presence that gives it its drama and so much of its passion."
"The Herron VTPH-2 gives listeners all the benefits of a tube unit with few of the failings and a text-book technical performance to boot. It offers a level of vacuum-tube engineering (carefully combined with solid-state circuitry) that's rare at any price, unheard of at this one."
- Roy Gregory hifi+ issue 58
Customer Review 2018
Herron VTPH-2A Phono Stage
More Customer Reviews 2018
Herron VTPH-2A Phono Stage
"Brilliant!" - By Dorian Workman: "Magnificent! So much better than the Parasound JC3+ and Sutherland Duo that I also tried. This one is a keeper!"
"Bravo! - By Darko: "Beautiful sound. Bravo Herron!"
"Excellent State of the Art Phonostage" --
- By Doug: "I have had the Herron for about a month. It takes time to break in. It adds impressive presence to music of all kinds without loosing detail. Very smooth over the entire audio spectrum. It is very easy to set up. I have two turntables connected to it, both VPI Prime Signatures with Van den Hul Crimson and Stradivarius (through Bob's Devices SUT to MM input) carts. In turn the Herron is connected to a Pass Labs INT-250 and in turn to B and W 802 D3 speakers. So if the Herron were anything but stellar this system would show it immediately. Happy to say that the Herron is easily up to the task of enhancing a high end system. It just keeps getting better each day. I like Keith Herron's philosophy of simple yet elegant electronics and customer support. Its made in the USA. Why pay twice as much for a foreign product and get poor customer support."
"Spectacular Tube Phono Preamp!!!" - By Tom G: "Exceptional sound and greatly improved dynamics are the benefits that I found when I upgraded from the Pass Labs XP15 phono preamp to the Herron Audio VTPH-2A. I liked the Pass unit quite a bit, but some music sounded a tad harsh, so the folks at NeedleDoctor recommended the Herron phono preamp and I could not be happier. This Herron unit is almost as quiet as the solid state Pass but offers greater imaging, depth and tone." "The rest of my system includes: Rega RP 10 turntable with Rega Aphelion MC cartridge, SimAudio Moon Evolution P7 preamplifier, SimAudio Moon Evolution W7 power amplifier, Benchmark DAC2 DX digital to analog converter, McIntosh MR88 AM FM HD tuner, Sonus Faber Cremona M tower speakers, REL R328 subwoofer, Audioquest Columbia interconnects, Audioquest Mont Blanc speaker cables, Furman IT Reference power conditioner"
The Herron VTPH-2A Phono Preamplifier was created to address the retrieval of musical information from vinyl LPs without any compromise. The original design was only intended for use by a few dedicated music lovers in their cutting edge audio systems. The design was so good, and demand so high, that the unit was refined and engineered to meet the requirements for a more durable unit manufactured in larger quantities. In the process, important refinements were developed and discoveries were made about tolerances and the threshold of human hearing limits.
external MC load resistor RCA plugs
Separate moving coil and moving magnet inputs
The Moving Coil "MC" Inputs:
The moving coil inputs have an additional 22 dB of gain which is provided by a proprietary FET very low noise linear gain stage connected directly to the MC inputs. The moving coil FET gain section is connected in front of the tube section when the unit is in the MC mode. This moving coil FET gain section has been designed specifically to avoid the sonic artifacts found in many solid state designs.
Moving coil loading RCA resistor plugs can be inserted into the back of the VTPH-2A at the "MC Load" connectors to properly load specific moving coil cartridges. Check with your cartridge manufacturer for recommended loading.
The Moving Magnet "MM" Inputs:
The moving magnet inputs send the cartridge signal directly to the tube section and bypasses the MC FET gain stage. The moving magnet inputs provide all tube amplification of the signal from the cartridge. The moving magnet inputs have an internal 47k Ohm loading resistor for each channel and 100pF "Miller Effect" loading capacitance which is provided by the grid of the first 12AX7 tube.
The moving coil inputs can be loaded to a particular cartridge specification by externally connecting the appropriate resistors using the "MC LOAD" RCA connectors on the back of the unit, or they can be internally soldered at the MC INPUTS circuit board (this should only be done by a competent technician).
Why loading plugs instead of dip switches?
The moving coil inputs have no load resistors installed unless specified by the customer when the unit is ordered from Herron Audio. We recommend trying the VTPH-2 in the no-load configuration as the unit is supplied for most moving coil cartridges. 47,000 (47k) ohm RCA load plugs are supplied with the unit for optional use. Additional user specified loading plugs can also be purchased with the unit.
The moving magnet inputs are factory loaded at 47,000 (47k) ohms, 100pF (standard loading for moving magnet cartridges).
Herron VTPH-2A Vacuum Tube Phono Preamplifier Features
- Switchable moving coil and moving magnet operating modes with separate input connectors for each
- Additional RCA connectors for external moving coil loading
- Cartridge biased moving coil input stage allows for infinite load resistance (operation with MC cartridge totally unloaded)
- Very low noise - both versions work nicely under 0.1mv in the MC mode
- Passive RIAA equalization for accurate phase and amplitude response with no inductors for maximum emf noise immunity
- Reversing power line (AC) polarity switch for minimizing line-to-chassis reactive currents and noise pickup
- Low plate operating currents and controlled warm-up for cool operation and extended tube life
- Class A operation
- No mechanical switches in the signal path
- Zero feedback - no feedback loops in the audio circuitry
- Gold plated RCA and ground connectors
- Audio path capacitors are high quality very low dielectric absorption film type
- Hand-picked components for accurate response
- Automatic muting at startup, shutdown, and mode selection
- Four levels of high voltage regulation
- Regulated soft-start DC filament and high voltage supply
- Regulated tube bias supply
- Toroidal power transformer
- Front panel indicators for power, voltage, and output (mute release)
|Tube complement||(2 x 12AX7, 3 x 12AT7) - most popular, or
(4 x 12AX7, 1 x 12AT7)
|Gain MC Mode||(2 X 12AX7, 3 X 12AT7) 64 dB
(4 X 12AX7, 1 X 12AT7) 69 dB
|Gain MM Mode||(2 X 12AX7, 3 X 12AT7) 43 dB
(4 X 12AX7, 1 X 12AT7) 48 dB
|Frequency response||RIAA 20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.1 dB at 10k Ohm output load impedance and higher|
|Distortion||Less than 0.03% at 2.45 volts output at 1kHz at 20k Ohm and higher output load impedance (tube selection dependent)
Note: Lowest distortion and best performance occurs with output loading at or above 20k Ohms - this gives the most dynamic sound
|Signal-to-Noise Ratio||88 dB, A weighted|
|Output impedance||(2 X 12AX7, 3 X 12AT7) 400 ohms
(4 X 12AX7, 1 X 12AT7) 500 ohms
|Input impedance||Infinite with no load resistors connected
Note: load resistors can be connected externally via RCA connectors or soldered internally
|Absolute polarity||Non-inverting (all modes)|
|Power Requirements||Standard IEC connector - most international voltages available|
|Overall dimensions||17.6" wide x 4" high (including rubber feet) x 10.25" deep|
|Warranty||3 years, parts and labor; tubes: 90 days|
|U.S. Retail Price||$3,650 U.S.D.|
NOTE: The VTPH-2A is an improved version of the VTPH-1 single input version which was reviewed by Stereophile in March of 2000
Stereophile: March 2000, Vol.23 NO.3 Herron Audio VTPH-1 Phono Stage
"It's competitive with anything I have rated 'Class A.'"
- Michael Fremer
"It was a pleasure to measure such a well-engineered phono stage."
- John Atkinson read the review
Ultimate Audio, March/April 1998
Herron Audio VTPH-1 Phono Stage
"The Herron Audio phono preamplifier produced something I've never heard from an audio system before: live, I mean LIVE, in-your-room clarity. The clarity and the absolute transparency this phono section delivers takes the listener not into the world of reproduction, but production. Great recordings assume their full, explosive, lifelike dynamics, with bass that is tight, deep and articulate complete with shading and definition; lightning-fast transients; exceptional control of the leading and trailing edge of the musical wave form. Tonally and harmonically, the Herron transports you to a place you have never been before."
"If you want the best (that I've heard) in line stage and phono stage reproduction, from the deepest, the tightest, cleanest bass your system can reproduce to the silkiest, most open highs you can hear, listen to what's happening at Herron Audio. You'll be glad you did."
- Richard Foster read the review
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Herron Audio, div. of Herron Engineering, Inc.
12685 Dorsett Road #138, Maryland Heights, MO 63043 U.S.A.