VTL Siegfried II - long term report

Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
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#1
Dear all,

It is true that it is quite quiet at the VTL forum and it is IMHO petty that this brand is overlooked among many new trendy brands with more aggressive digital presence.

I want to share with you my experience with VTL Siegfried II after two and half years of usage. Although Siegfrieds are extremely well designed and executed amps further optimization can elevate their performance further:
- of course, power cables make a difference but I will not further elaborate on it since it is frequently discussed topic,
- I was though surprised how changing original spikes to anti vibration footers can make such a profound difference. I have tried Stillpoints Ultra 5 and Neodio Origine B1. I have settled for later since it provided better flow and articulation,
- I have been thinking how to upgrade tubes too. There is rather common understanding that Gold Lions, which I use, are the best new production KT88, and finding 24 NOS can be quite expensive and almost impossible to find. Therefore I did not explore that option. But I have tried several new production and NOS 12BH7 and 12AT7 tubes. I have found that changing 12BH7 tubes have relatively small influence, but was surprised that the influence of 12AT7 is so important. I have settled for NOS Mullard 12AT7 because of its superior musicality.

But this is not only a report about improving VTLs but also how delusional a quest for the best can be. When I bought VTLs I had TAD R1 speakers. Although the sound was good it could be heard when using solid state amps that no matter how powerful and well designed tube amps are they just could not control the potent bass of TAD R1. Latter I sold them and bought Sigma Acoustics MAAT. With a claimed sensitivity of 100db and 8ohm impedance they should have been my final way to SET heaven. Therefore I have tried some SET amps (up to 60w) at first but found out that despite beautiful musicality they lacked the power to deliver dynamics of big orchestra. Then I have tried some some A class amps (up to 200w) and heard an increase in transparency but after some time missed the emotions of tubes. I have also tried hybrids. And each time after inserting VTLs again in my system I have found out how I missed them and how I like them. They really deliver most of the attributes I want: emotion of tubes, superb dynamics, bass control and quite excellent transparency. I can listen to big orchestra, small ensembles, voices, jazz, electronica, good and not so good recordings equally well.

Besides, they are obviously very well made and reliable. I only had one issue with them when one tube blew. But changing it proved to be very easy - you just have to follow well written manual.

If I would describe the phases of my attitude towards Siegfrieds with words: it started with romance, continued with respect and ended with love

I am not disclosing any brands of other amps because I would not like to start a fire among brand loyalists. But they were all well known brands and I have lived with them for at least few days (up to few months). Anyhow , it is a matter of synergy and subjective preference at the end.

But there were important learnings for me at the end (or maybe rather until now ):
- power is extremely important if you listen to wide range of music. Of course we all read about magic of SET but in reality there are very very few examples where combination of high sensitive speakers and SET amps can play wide range of music equally well on the top level,
- system building is about compromises and making choices. Therefore you have to have really in-depth understanding of your musical choices, sound preferences and impact of those on system building.
- but there is a problem: maybe our music and sound preferences change or evolve over time. Therefore you have to have this in your mind and not use “this is my final destination” for any piece of equipment to quickly. Only retrospective will prove that.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#2
Thank you very much for starting this thread!

You are quite correct that it seems that VTL is not the subject of much discussion these days. This is partly, I think, because Luke and Bea do not seek to generate buzz by releasing new models with only trivial improvements or differences.

I own Siegfried IIs also, although I have not seen mine because they are in storage. My Siegfried IIs have KT-88s also. Before purchasing these, I enjoyed VTL MB-750s for 18 years.

I share your view that, absent extremely sensitive speakers, a lot of power — even seeming overkill power — is a good thing. To my ears seemingly excess power increases the ease and overall dynamic ceiling of the system.

I appreciate your reports on tweaks and tinkerings you have applied to your Siegfried II amplifiers.
 
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Ron Resnick

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#3
When you had one tube blow, did the elaborate Siegfried II self-monitoring circuit prevent any collateral damage?

Did the amplifier indicate which tube needed to be replaced, and was it a simple matter of replacing the one blown tube?
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#4
“. . . of course, power cables make a difference but I will not further elaborate on it since it is frequently discussed topic . . .”

I would be grateful to know which power cords you tried. What differences did you hear with each of them?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#5
Great opening post...absolute power really does some remarkable things when done well...i totally agree. I also find that as the system increases its ability to handle all manner of music, my music tastes have not changed but rather EXPANDED where things that perhaps once i did not take to...i now enjoy because the system seems better able to allow me to listen to something perhaps closer to what it might have been meant to sound like. Orchestral is a big example where I started listening to full-scale orchestral with the big Wilsons and sub which I rarely did with my earlier speakers. And it was not a gradual change...but an immediate one.
 
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CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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#6
VTL is an underrated brand.
The VTL dealer in Hong Kong carries also Rockport speakers.
Their room in the annual HK HiFi Show in Aug has been consistently excellent for many years.
IMO it was one of the top three rooms this year.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#7
I would like that combination very much: Siegfried II driving Rockport Lyra.
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#8
VTL is an underrated brand.
The VTL dealer in Hong Kong carries also Rockport speakers.
Their room in the annual HK HiFi Show in Aug has been consistently excellent for many years.
IMO it was one of the top three rooms this year.
Ernie Lau...I have heard his 4-piece VTL Siegfried IIs driving the mighty Arrakis...in the top 2 of all time for me. The other being Audiocrack's big Genesis 1.2 system (many years ago).
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#9
I too have heard (twice) a system with two pairs of Siegfried IIs driving Rockport Arrakis. I loved it!
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#10
Ron, I have long thought about where to go next...and as much as I have a huge admiration for the mighty Arrakis, i do think the practicalities of needing another entire amp (Mephisto) and another set of cables (TA Opus Gen 5) plus space do call into question some very real practicalities.

On the other hand...i do wonder what a Rockport Lyra would sound like with a single or dual set of Subs. Anathema to some, but not to me...I have not heard the Magico QSub but again, i do wonder...

Have you heard the Rockport Lyra by any chance??
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#11
Ron, I have long thought about where to go next...and as much as I have a huge admiration for the mighty Arrakis, i do think the practicalities of needing another entire amp (Mephisto) and another set of cables (TA Opus Gen 5) plus space do call into question some very real practicalities.

On the other hand...i do wonder what a Rockport Lyra would sound like with a single or dual set of Subs. Anathema to some, but not to me...I have not heard the Magico QSub but again, i do wonder...

Have you heard the Rockport Lyra by any chance??
I heard the Lyra twice in Munich when Kerem Kucukaslan of Absolare used them in his system.

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/munich-high-end-2018-ron-report-absolare-rockport.25457/

Is the Lyra better than the Arrakis? I strongly suspect yes, in some sonic characteristics. But if I had Arrakis I certainly would not trade them in for Lyras, relinquishing the D’Appolito array design and the double woofers on each side.

I would totally support a clean swap in your system of your metal dome tweetered Wilsons for Lyras!
 
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Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
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#12
“. . . of course, power cables make a difference but I will not further elaborate on it since it is frequently discussed topic . . .”

I would be grateful to know which power cords you tried. What differences did you hear with each of them?
Sorry for late reply... I am on a business trip... Since Siegfried has 20A power input I have only been able to try two power cable: Valhalla and Faber cables. Found later to be superior, more natural and organic.
 

Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
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#13
When you had one tube blow, did the elaborate Siegfried II self-monitoring circuit prevent any collateral damage?

Did the amplifier indicate which tube needed to be replaced, and was it a simple matter of replacing the one blown tube?
It was simple matter of one blown tube. Amp cleary indicates what to do. I also had to replace a fuse (which is in a spare parts box given with the amp).
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#14
I heard the Lyra twice in Munich when Kerem Kucukaslan of Absolare used them in his system.

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/munich-high-end-2018-ron-report-absolare-rockport.25457/

Is the Lyra better than the Arrakis? I strongly suspect yes, in some sonic characteristics. But if I had Arrakis I certainly would not trade them in for Lyras, relinquishing the D’Appolito array design and the double woofers on each side.

I would totally support a clean swap in your system of your metal dome tweetered Wilsons for Lyras!
I hear you...i would agree entirely with that...if i could comfortably feel like i was ready for the space requirements (not just the speakers, but the 2 amps, 2 sets of TA Opus SCs...and of course the crossover (manageable)...and the inevitable desire (as Arnie has done) to have SOTA subs to go with them.

Hence...if you had to go with only one (blind)...would you guess Arrakis alone (no sub)...or Lyra plus dual SOTA subs? I suspect you would still go Arrakis...but in my case, i may "only" have the choice of the latter someday. TBD.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#15
Even if the Lyra sounds in some way more refined or slightly more transparent (I am purely speculating here but I assume Andy Payor believes there are some sonic attributes on which the Lyra sounds better than the Arrakis) than the Arrakis I probably would stay with the Arrakis because I like the height and the vertical distribution of low frequencies due to the double woofers on each side.
 
May 30, 2010
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#16
(...) I would totally support a clean swap in your system of your metal dome tweetered Wilsons for Lyras!
Why not simply getting the XLF's? :) Being at the end of their current catalog life there are great deals showing around. And they sound magnificent with the Siegfried II's, just to keep on the thread subject!
 
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Tbzc

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2011
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#17
Microstrip,
I think we all would appreciate if you would share with us your experience with Siegfried II with your speakers. Especially compared to lower powered amp, like Lamm you have. Thanks.
 
May 30, 2010
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#18
Microstrip,
I think we all would appreciate if you would share with us your experience with Siegfried II with your speakers. Especially compared to lower powered amp, like Lamm you have. Thanks.
Still feeling that the I have not given the Lamm ML3 and LL1 's a fair chance to show their best in my system. They have power enough for the levels I normally listen, only show limitations when I need to impress people. I listen to the VTL's with Transparent Audio Opus, that are intrinsically incompatible with the Lamm's. My other cable set - Crystal Dreamline - sounds colored in the Lamm's - too nice, adding some warmth that is not needed. Recently a good friend came with some Kubala Sosna Elations and it was probably the best match I had in my system- but it was a too short listening. Probably I will borrow them next month for a full week.

Anyway VTL and Lamm are night and day. My opinions are based on listening to the Vivaldi full stack - I have not yet not operated the Lamm's since the AF1P arrival - and the VTLs seem more real with complex - not loud - music, even at low levels. I am waiting for the Taiko Audio Extreme and another set of cables to take a decision on what stays and what departs. If forced to decide today I would keep the VTL's.

And the absence of a remote is really a nuisance. My VTL remote get lost in my room for a few days and it was driving me crazy!
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#19
Still feeling that the I have not given the Lamm ML3 and LL1 's a fair chance to show their best in my system. They have power enough for the levels I normally listen, only show limitations when I need to impress people. I listen to the VTL's with Transparent Audio Opus, that are intrinsically incompatible with the Lamm's. My other cable set - Crystal Dreamline - sounds colored in the Lamm's - too nice, adding some warmth that is not needed. Recently a good friend came with some Kubala Sosna Elations and it was probably the best match I had in my system- but it was a too short listening. Probably I will borrow them next month for a full week.

Anyway VTL and Lamm are night and day. My opinions are based on listening to the Vivaldi full stack - I have not yet not operated the Lamm's since the AF1P arrival - and the VTLs seem more real with complex - not loud - music, even at low levels. I am waiting for the Taiko Audio Extreme and another set of cables to take a decision on what stays and what departs. If forced to decide today I would keep the VTL's.

And the absence of a remote is really a nuisance. My VTL remote get lost in my room for a few days and it was driving me crazy!
sounds somewhat familiar.

i think that the VAC Statement 450 mono's have more in common with the VTL Seigfried's than not.....and it's a similar compare to the ML3's as i did.

my speakers are in the same general ballpark of efficiency. similarly capable digital. with the VAC all types of music were equally accessible. they were not as 'personally interesting' as the Lamm's.....but always delivered whatever was asked of them. of course, i had 'plan C' too.....and went that way.

i did not experiment with various cables but my Evolution Acoustics speaker cables are likely a more neutral match with both amps than the TP Opus.

i know we both like large scale classical, maybe Micro does a bit more world music.

not sure i could deal with no volume remote permanently. but if did not have a job where i had to be contact-able 24/7 maybe i would not care about that.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#20
Why not simply getting the XLF's? :) Being at the end of their current catalog life there are great deals showing around. And they sound magnificent with the Siegfried II's, just to keep on the thread subject!
Agree! Certainly has crossed my mind but perhaps more as one of a few options to keep in mind for long term...as prices go down over time!
 

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