Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps

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tw_switzerland

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Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« on: 5 Aug 2010, 01:39 pm »
Hello you proud owners of Virtue amps

I have been following all threads about the great Virtue amps here for many weeks. And I am planning to replace my Trends Audio TA-10.2 by a Virtue TWO.2 or Sensation M901. As I am in Europe (with USD 100 shipping plus taxes) my first choice has to be the right one - money back or upgrade is no sensible option regarding the high transfer costs.

So what I am looking for are your textual characterisations and differences of the sound provided by the different amp configurations:
  • TWO.2 with Auricaps
  • Sensation M910 with Standard Auricaps
  • Sensation M910 with Upgrade Sonicaps
  • Sensation M910 with Tube Buffer

I would prefer to start with the middle 30V/80W power supply. As space is limited, there is no chance to use the battery option now.

What I am especially interested in are:
  • good 3D imaging (the holographic effect)
  • smooth heights (I do not like harsh/hard sibilants)
  • a natural slightly relaxed overall experience

Maybe there are people out there, who are/were able to compare some of the options and can comment on the differences. Are there any differences (regarding my points of interest)? Are the differences very clear or only audible when switching directly? Maybe someone can relate the Virtues to the smaller Trends I am having right now.  :scratch:

Maybe you think, that I'm too picky. Well, I have to admit that I have the tendency to evaluate my purchases for a long time. But I'm very sensitive. E.g. I bought the Wire World Solstice 5 Interconnect cable based on good reviews. A very analytic cable which boosts imaging, which is fine. Unfortunately this interconnect cable emphasized the hights so that the sound is now a bit on the harsh side and the sibilants may sound aggressive. I'll have to replace that innterconnect soon. Based on this mixed experience, I have to carefully select my next components in order to get the sound I am looking for. And of course money is a limited ressource...  :roll:

I am looking forward to your feedback. I'm thankful for all kinds of help!  :D

Thomas
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2010, 08:07 pm by tw_switzerland »

wsturner

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #1 on: 5 Aug 2010, 02:38 pm »
Thomas,

I previously owned a Trends Audio TA-10.2, with AuriCap upgrade. I wouldn't just say that the Virtue amp is better. I would say that the Virtue amp is in another class.

The TWO.2 and the Sensation will both give you sound which will make you fall in love with the amp.

I prefer the Sensation. It has more space, which allows for more upgrade options - like the Dodd Tube Buffer.

Either way, you should do a cap upgrade, and seriously consider finding enough space to use the Dodd battery kit.

Looks like you have about 12 days left to make a decision  :)

Scott


al128

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #2 on: 5 Aug 2010, 02:56 pm »
Hello you proud owners of Virtue amps

I have been following all threads about the great Virtue amps here for many weeks. And I am planning to replace my Trends Audio TA-10.2 by a Virtue TWO.2 or Sensation M901. As I am in Europe (with USD 100 shipping plus taxes) my first choice has to be the right one - money back or upgrade is no sensible option regarding the high transfer costs.  :nono:

So what I am looking for are your textual characterisations and differences of the sound provided by the different amp configurations:
  • TWO.2 with Auricaps
  • Sensation M910 with Standard Auricaps
  • Sensation M910 with Upgrade Sonicaps
  • Sensation M910 with Tube Buffer

I would prefer to start with the middle 30V/80W power supply. As space is limited, there is no chance to use the battery option now.

What I am especially interested in are:
  • good 3D imaging (the holographic effect)
  • smooth heights (I do not like harsh/hard sibilants)
  • a natural slightly relaxed overall experience

Maybe there are people out there, who are/were able to compare some of the options and can comment on the differences. Are there any differences (regarding my points of interest)? Are the differences very clear or only audible when switching directly? Maybe someone can relate the Virtues to the smaller Trends I am having right now.  :scratch:

Maybe you think, that I'm too picky. Well, I have to admit that I have the tendency to evaluate my purchases for a long time. But I'm very sensitive. E.g. I bought the Wire World Solstice 5 Interconnect cable based on good reviews. A very analytic cable which boosts imaging, which is fine. Unfortunately this interconnect cable emphasized the hights so that the sound is now a bit on the harsh side and the sibilants may sound aggressive. I'll have to replace that innterconnect soon. Based on this mixed experience, I have to carefully select my next components in order to get the sound I am looking for. And of course money is a limited ressource...  :roll:

I am looking forward to your feedback. I'm thankful for all kinds of help!  :D

Thomas

hallo sprüngli  :green:

I, too am living abroad (south america) - so the money back deals did not work for me either (once you pay 50% shipping and customs "money back" is relative ) ...

let me tell you the TWO.2 I have (bat. supply) is def. 1 or 2 levels above a trend amp ... I used a Miniwatt and a KingRex (you prob. heard about those be4 - they are HIGHLY regarded amps!) ... well -  the TWO.2 SPANKING BRAND NEW NON-BURNT-IN blew them away the first second I plugged it in. Its not just better - its a different ligue. Of course it sounds way better now with 200hrs on the clock

(George W. voice on)
Make no mistake, son ...

(George W. voice off)
... the TWO.2 is a U$1,500.00 amp that just happens to sell for 450 or so bucks ... and it sounds like a $1,500 amp - period.

if I were you. get the TWO.2 with standard 65w power supply and then have someone locally rig up a 24V battery supply (its extremely easy to do - I have done it before) ... doesnt make sense to have 5kg worth of lead batteries being shipped from usa to appenzell.  :icon_lol:

the

tw_switzerland

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #3 on: 5 Aug 2010, 03:05 pm »
Hello Scott

Thanks for your advice. You prefere the Sensation because of its upgradeability. But unmodified they are sonically nearly the same?
And what difference in sound signature may I expect, if I choose the Sonicaps instead of the standard Auricaps?


Hello al128

Well I'm not a "Sprüngli" but I like what they produce.  :D
And I', not located in "Appenzell", Im from Berne. But why do you know Sprünglis and Appenzell?  :scratch:

You are right. It makes no sense to ship heavy batteries that far...


Many thanks to you both! :-)

Thomas (going to eat some chocolate from Sprüngli ;-) )

Rocket

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #4 on: 5 Aug 2010, 03:13 pm »
Hi Thomas,

I have been down this path many times as an audiophile.  You need to bite the bullet and get the best virtue amplifier that you can afford.  I think there is a discount on at the moment and you probably might want to take advantage of this offer.

Sensation M910 with Tube Buffer.  If you have the money you should go for this amplifier.

Regards

Rod

al128

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #5 on: 5 Aug 2010, 03:32 pm »
Hello Scott

Thanks for your advice. You prefere the Sensation because of its upgradeability. But unmodified they are sonically nearly the same?
And what difference in sound signature may I expect, if I choose the Sonicaps instead of the standard Auricaps?


Hello al128

Well I'm not a "Sprüngli" but I like what they produce.  :D
And I', not located in "Appenzell", Im from Berne. But why do you know Sprünglis and Appenzell?  :scratch:

You are right. It makes no sense to ship heavy batteries that far...


Many thanks to you both! :-)

Thomas (going to eat some chocolate from Sprüngli ;-) )

sprüngli is just a generic term for swiss folks we (Össis) use  :green:

sound signature of the two.2 (with hornshoppe horns):
- extremely airy
- extremely open
- very good soundstage (my 16m2 room converts to 40m2, b/cause most of the music happens behind my front wall)
- EXTREMELY dynamic and fast
- sounds best once warmed up (half an hour or so)
- good weight of bass (without being pyrotechnic)
- really not much wrong with that beast!

if you plan to run more than 1 source - sensation ... to the contrary - TWO

cheers
al

momini1

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #6 on: 5 Aug 2010, 04:22 pm »
I haven't owned any other T-amp so I can't make that comparison. However, I have owned a number of amps over the last 40 years from classic Marantz amps, to Carvers, to Onix solidstate and tube amps, to Adcom separates,  to Peachtrees, to Cambridge Audio 540s and 840s.  I now have the Sensation and I had Mr. Dodd change the caps and add the tube buffer. I listened to the original version of the amp for about 1000 hours. The new version, in addition to  giving you the fun of tube rolling, has a deeper and taller soundstage, better in-the-room presence,  and crisper highs without any glare. You can  roll  tubes  to affect the midrange and tone, and  you can make a real difference in sound, depending on the type of music you like and the sonic qualities of the rest of your equipment. This is the best amp I have ever owned - it isn't even close - and it is worth more than Seth is charging. Everyone who hears it tells me they have never enjoyed listening as much as they do with the Sensation.

I looked at the Virtues and the 451, but I needed an extra input, and I loved the way the Sensation looks and can be customized. I usually look for the best value for the money and don't often buy the highest-priced model. But I wanted to buy once, not twice, and I felt the extras the Sensation offered made it worth the additional money, especially if you go ahead and upgrade the power supply on the 451. The Dodd tube buffer has really been an upgrade, and it would make me favor the Sensation over the Virtues, even if their stock sonic qualities are similar.

eclein

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #7 on: 6 Aug 2010, 12:24 am »
I have a TWO.2..I love it!! Sounds incredible and I use a Tube DAC so I get the nice golden tube sound..I also have the 30V/130W power supply and it was great advice to get it. If I were starting over..I'd go: Sensation/30V-130W PS/tube buffer then sit back and enjoy the music!!!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

OzarkTom

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #8 on: 6 Aug 2010, 04:24 am »
This is the best amp I have ever owned - it isn't even close - and it is worth more than Seth is charging. Everyone who hears it tells me they have never enjoyed listening as much as they do with the Sensation.

I will second what "momini1" said.

In the last 40 years "I" have never enjoyed an amp as much as I have enjoyed the Sensation with the Dodd tube buffer and the Dodd battery supply. The power supply is small, you should easily find a place for it. I like the battery supply because you never hear the harshness of the electrical current. I had to leave the Ome-2 and Sensation, minus Dodd battery, on 24 hours a day to ease up the harshness with the electrical supply here in my house.

This amp is now so wildly entertaining, it is hard to ever turn it off. That is a first for me. You will be swaying and tapping your foot to the music constantly.

wsturner

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #9 on: 8 Aug 2010, 04:46 pm »
Children...Children. Stop fighting so much.

When you're tired and thinking cold
hide in the music, forget the day
...close your eyes and slip away

OzarkTom

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #10 on: 8 Aug 2010, 04:55 pm »
Hi Thomas,

The answer to your questions is fairly simple as far as what I have heard. The Sensation(tube buffer) can be run with or without the buffer with a click of the switch, which is the advantage over the Two.2. You can always change the character of the sound of the tube buffer by rolling a few tubes. Too bright? Try a RCA or Mullard. Too dark? Try a GE or Sylvania.

The tubes give you more of a 3D holographic effect, but that is very subjective to the recording. The Sensation does not exaggerate the soubdstage, it is very true to the recording. Some recordings sounds so recessed, it sounds like it was recorded in a cave.ex, Ry Cooder, "I, Flathead". Then other recordings have notes zinging around your room in circles. ex.-Madonna's "Immaculte Collection. Every song sounds like a 5.1 surround sound recording on your stereo system with some songs having notes that swirls in your room in circles. I just wish it had a little more bass.

The Sensation gives you the best of both worlds.

Happy Listening,
Tom

virtue

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #11 on: 8 Aug 2010, 05:17 pm »
Thomas,

Neutralos is also a student like you and a good man. He too hasn't purchased a Sensation for the same reasons you discuss, but has a lovely TWO and remains a loyal fan. 

Many of us feel at times that people are trying to take advantage of us - so that's where he is coming from, it is from a place of love and protection of Virtue.  Please do not dwell too deeply on Neurtalos's post - he's a good man trying to protect me.

The points you raise about customs and shipping are excellent.  It is magical that we can buy products from around the world over the internet.  But taxes take out a huge bite and thus, buying from overseas is as hard as it should be - hard.

It is only logical that one would prefer to make a small investment for international purchases.  My hope is that by next year we will have good dealers and distributors overseas and although prices will be much higher, you should be able to try before you buy.

Thank you for being part of our community.  Your contributions, observations, and questions are appreciated here.

Seth

Rocket

Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #12 on: 9 Aug 2010, 02:37 am »
Hi Seth,

Just wondering if your international dealers are offering 20% discount to their customers?

I presume that I cannot by direct from Virtue Audio and I have to go thru my dealer if there is one in my country?

Thanks

Rod

virtue

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Re: Sound signature of the different Virtue Amps
« Reply #13 on: 10 Aug 2010, 03:39 pm »
I could not possibly give overseas dealers cheap enough to allow them to pass on 20% savings.  Impossible, sorry.