VINNIE ROSSI L2 Signature tube Preamplifier

VR 10 PA L2
NZ$ 28,500.00 ea (incl. GST)
Vinnie Rossi
New

The L2 Signature Preamplifier is Vinnie Rossi’s new flagship design that creates an effortless connection between the listener and the music. Compatible with the most cherished of 4-pin directly heated triode (DHT) tube families, L2 delivers an unmatched listening experience with its exceptional resolution, tonality, and “reach out and touch the performer” sense of realism. Superb linearity and extra-wide bandwidth recover delicate nuances and provide incomparable texture, layering, and spaciousness. And when it comes to bass response, L2’s articulation of each and every note is phenomenal.

At the heart of the L2 Signature Preamplifier is Vinnie Rossi’s latest Class-A, ultra wide bandwidth, DHT topology powered by patented Belleson super-regulated, dual mono linear power supplies.  L2 exemplifies elegant simplicity and finesse in communicating all the emotion and passion in the music.

Each L2 Signature Preamplifier is meticulously hand-built and tested by Vinnie Rossi himself. Its no-compromise construction and use of the highest-quality components assure the listener of reliable performance for many years.

L2 OPTIONAL DAC- RCA plug-in module for LIO & L2 preamps @ RRP $5,995ea
L2 OPTIONAL PHONOSTAGE-RCA plug-in module for LIO & L2 preamps @ RRP $5,995ea

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Videos

Features

L2 SIGNATURE PREAMPLIFIER features:

  • Vinnie Rossi’s latest Class-A, ultra wide bandwidth directly heated triode (DHT) preamplifier design, compatible with: 2A3, 45, 300B, PX4, 101D, 205D, and SV811 DHT families with one-switch filament voltage selection.
  • Dual shielded power supplies with in-rush current limiting.
  • Dual-mono layout using multiple patented Belleson super regulators for ultra-quiet linear voltage regulation of the L&R triode B+, L&R triode filaments, and power to the (optional) L2 DAC and L2 Phonostage modules.
  • Discrete, 64-step resistor ladder volume control using Pickering England silent signal relays.
  • True active balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) inputs and outputs.
  • Dual 12V Trigger output jacks with on/off control switch on front panel.
  • Internal, “DHT bypass mode” switches (Replaces DHT stage with a Class A JFET stage).
  • Internal front panel display & LED brightness controls.
  • Yamamoto solid Teflon UX-4 tube sockets.
  • Solid, precision CNC machined aluminium chassis and “bank vault,” ball bearing control knobs.
  • Solid, precision CNC machined aluminium isolation base with Stillpoints ULTRA MINI feet.
  • Mesh tube covers for added noise shielding and tube protection, with matching mesh ventilation on top panel.
  • Included tubes: EH300B Gold-Grid (matched pair).
  • Full-function aluminium remote control handset.
  • Designed and manufactured in the USA.
  • 10-year warranty.
  • Includes custom, military-grade hard travel case.

L2 OPTIONAL DAC- RCA plug-in module for LIO & L2 preamps features @ RRP $5,995ea

  • Bit-perfect playback at sampling rates up to PCM 768kHz (16, 24, or 32 bit compatible), as well up to DSD512. Sample rates are viewable from front panel display.
  • Dual-mono design, with one flagship AKM AK44497EQ d/a chip per channel.
  • Fully discrete, pure Class-A JFET analog outputs stage design with cascode constant-current source biasing (no opamps).
  • On-board FPGA buffer and femto-reclocking circuitry negates effects of jitter. Isolated input stages.
  • ‘NOS’ (non-oversampling) filter mode with digital filter bypass, as well as a Minimal Phase digital filter mode (selected via the “FILTER” button on the L2 Remote).
  • Absolute polarity ‘normal’ / Absolute polarity ‘inverted’ modes (selected via the “PHASE” button on the L2 Remote).
  • Belleson Super-regulated voltage feed to numerous ultra-low noise, linear voltage regulators used throughout (for both digital and analog sections).
  • “Silent” mute ‘reed relays’ (*barely* an audible click from the board when changing tracks of a different sample rate).
  • Inputs: 1 USB, 1 Coax (75-ohm BNC, with included RCA adapter) and 1 TOSLINK (optical).
  • Connect up to three devices and switch between them via L2 front panel or the remote handset.

L2 OPTIONAL PHONOSTAGE-RCA plug-in module for LIO & L2 preamps features @ RRP $5,995ea

  • Inputs: 1 set of Moving Magnet (MM), 2 sets of Moving Coil (MC)
  • Built-in, on the fly MC remote adjustable cartridge loading (10 – 1000 ohms). Cartridge load setting viewable from L2 front panel display
  • Adjustable gain jumpers for MM and MC inputs
  • Belleson Super-Regulated split-supply voltage rails
  • Four low-noise and low distortion gain stages. Each stage has a nominal gain of 20dB, resulting in higher bandwidth per stage and lower phase shift across the audio band
  • Low output impedance design
  • DC coupled from input to output (no dc blocking capacitors added in series to the signal path)
  • DC Servo keeps output offset negligible
  • RIAA is designed to prevent internal overload by first attenuating treble, and then boosting bass
  • High accuracy resistors and capacitors used throughout
  • 4-layer PCB with separate ground planes for analog and digital (control circuitry)
  • Cardas Audio input jacks
  • Connect up to three tone arms and switch between them via L2 front panel or the remote handset

Specifications

Frequency Response:  (with stock EH300B tubes):
2Hz – 500kHz (+/- 0.5dB)
0.5Hz – 950kHz (+/- 3dB)
Output Impedance (SE and BAL):< 100 ohms
Input Impedance (SE and BAL):Approx. 10K ohm
Voltage Gain:8 dB (with stock EH300B tubes) / 0dB (DHT Bypass Mode / Unity gain JFET buffer only)
SNR (with stock EH300B tubes): -120dB (A-Weighted), SE IN/OUT
SNR (DHT Bypass Mode): -140dB (A-Weighted), SE IN/OUT
12Vdc Trigger Outputs:12V (+/- 0.1V), 200mA max (each) with on/off switch on front panel
THD+N (with stock EH300B tubes): Less than 0.5% (unweighted), SE IN/OUT
HD+N (DHT Bypass Mode):  Less than 0.0006% (unweighted), SE IN/OUT
AC Input:  Factory configured for 110-120Vac  -or-  220-240Vac (50/60Hz)
Volume Control: 64 steps (approx. 1dB per step) from -∞ to +8dB
Balance Control: 24 steps from L to R (approx. 1db per step)
Power Consumption (with stock EH300B Gold Grid  tubes, L2 Dac and L2 Phonostage installed): Approx. 65W
Protections:
– Fused AC input
– MOV (AC input surge protection)
– Output short circuit protection
Dimensions 
(no tubes installed): Approx. 368W x 368D x 127H mm
(with tubes and tube covers installed): 368W x 368D x 203H mm
Weight: 12kg
Shipping Weight: 24 kg including travel case

Reviews

REVIEW SUMMARIES

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018

“Warmth and midrange smoothness were the strengths of a Vinnie Rossi/ Triode Wire Labs / Harbeth loudspeaker system…

Drums and percussion were depicted with excellence, the low tones of piano and instruments were conveyed with perfection, and the artistry and emotion of all concerned came through loud and clear.

In fact, the brilliance of music and interpretation was such that, for one of the rare times in my 15 years at audio shows, absolutely no one left the room or even fidgeted during a long piece of relatively obscure, heart-rending German lieder that was impeccably sung with deep feeling. This is a tribute not only to Vinnie Rossi, Harbeth, and Triode Wire, but also to the quality of show attendees whom Vinnie tends to attract. Thank you, one and all.” 

Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile

RMAF 2018 – Best in Show Sound

(Room 3018: Vinnie Rossi with Spatial Audio and Anticables)

“It’s rooms like Vinnie’s and Clayton’s that really are “the energy” for that audio show feeling.

… Bass was massive and natural — and by natural I mean it was like real thunder, not a facsimile, or one of those pesky apartment neighbors who just got “Sub-Woofer: The Movie” on Blu-Ray.

…The mid-range and treble was as effortless as anything I had encountered this year at any of the shows. Not to say it was out-right the best, but it was spooky in how it loaded the room and held voices inside the image when needed but allowed the vocals to show space when the recording demanded it.

…When we talk about ‘Best-In-Show’ sound, I can’t help but take into account that what I heard here at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is not only a few extra inches of performance, but a few feet worth. How many other speaker and electronics brands can admit they’ve made those kind of gains?”

Eric Franklin Shook, Part-Time Audiophile

(Room 4024: Vinnie Rossi with Harbeth Loudspeakers and Triode Wire Labs)

“Insight was available by the boatload. Bass attack, fast, but not bloated or overly thumpy. Mid-range, what I consider to be signature Harbeth, but turned upward and wider that I know from my previously smaller Harbeth experiences. Treble was where, for me, things shined. The insight came from imaging that hung afloat in the middle of the room like an apparition.”

Eric Franklin Shook, Part-Time Audiophile

 

“In the Spatial Audio room, Clayton Shaw was debuting his statement speaker, the Lumina L2 along with  Vinnie Rossi’s ‎L2 Signature Preamp and Monoblock System that he was debuting. This was some of the best sound at the show.

“This is one of the systems at the show that really got my motor running. The whole system didn’t cost what many of the speakers at the show sold for, and it sounded better than most. It was dynamic, open, had emotional energy and was very natural sounding. These were great debut products.” 

Jack and Becky Roberts, The Audio Beatnik

 

“The slide guitar-infused Plowin’ Mule track by Doug MacLeod posted almost ghost-like focus for each instrument in the music field. It was certainly hard to tell where the speakers were placed, and if pressed to gander a guess, I would have implied a location much further back, behind the somewhat close, actual placement of the 40.2s. A fun party trick? An expensive hollowed gesture to scare trick-or-treaters? I say nay. Raw craftsmanship from two brands that gel together for power when needed and grace unyielding. Best imaging and focus of the show for me.

Brian Hunter, Audio-Head.com

 

 

“RMAF Best of Show”

“This was one of those rooms you could sit and listen all day and never get fatigued. Vinnie had them [Harbeth 40.2s] dialed in and his new L2 DHT Preamp sounded terrific. You also won’t meet a friendlier bunch than these guys!”

Mike Bovaird, AudioShark.org

 

“Great Rooms of RMAF 2018”

“Lovely sound, typical of Harbeth and its legendary status. Great bass, too… Vinnie Rossi continues to make some of the most intriguing electronics, highly adaptable and sounding superb. Very good and reasonably priced.”

Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia

* * * Link to more RMAF2018 show coverage and pictures of the Vinnie Rossi L2 System debut!

EarSpace w/ Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature.- see video
John H. Darko

New room, new broom, new possibilities and for the hi-fi system owner – new challenges: standing waves and suck-outs in the low-end plus soundstage smear caused by wall, ceiling and floor reflections.

I’m now two years into my first Berlin apartment and I have my listening room dialled in so that it sounds pleasing to the ear but also looks and feels cosy enough to sit in when not listening to music. I work hard to keep the electronics tidy so that the room doesn’t appear overrun with audio gear and the (judiciously-placed) acoustic panels don’t have it looking like a sound lab. The tussle between what sounds best and what looks best is closely fought and neverending.

It wasn’t always this way. I started with bare walls, hardwood floors and a slapback sound that would make the average cafe owner wince. Rugs quickly went down to cover 70% of the floor but playback from a pair of ELAC Uni-Fi UF5 floorstanders, although considerably improved, was still too swimmy, their imaging too diffuse and, in the room’s corners, standing waves too abundant.

The short-term fix – until more furniture could be loaded into the room, a larger wall of vinyl acquired and acoustic panels mounted to the (thick) concrete walls – was to pull the loudspeakers further from the front wall and the couch further from the rear for a midfield listening setup. A psuedo-room within a room. Plants were placed at first reflection points for diffusion (frequency scattering). Do not underestimate plant power.

In the months that followed, I tried this configuration firing down the room and then across it to ultimately settle on the former. Aesthetic considerations vetoed a diagonal setup despite loudspeaker soundstage and directional fire running non-parallel to the room’s walls.

It was in the middle of a similar diagonal fire test run that I caught Vinnie Rossi setting up for RMAF 2016. Only Rossi didn’t have months to play with. He had only hours. Room setup for Audio Show exhibitors must be sorted inside a day. Expediting the process, Rossi draws a playlist of twenty songs, that he knows inside out and upside down, to call ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a Marriott Hotel room configuration before moving loudspeaker and electronics to new spots and testing again.

Rossi is no traditionalist. In recent years, his LIO platform has given us high-current off grid ultracapacitor power, Integrated modularity and instant upgradabilty. His LIO Preamplifier added DHT tube linestaging for marriage to solid-state amplification for the best of both worlds.

Catching up with Rossi at RMAF 2018 at the same Marriott Hotel but a larger room, the East Coaster had gone with a straight firing but midfield loudspeaker placement to put several feet between the Anniversary Edition Harbeth 40.2 and the front wall bench that housed his ALL NEW L2 Signature Pre-amplifier and L2 Signature Monoblocks.

A month later in New York and at another audio show, Rossi again gave the 40.2 midfield room placement to minimise the negative influence of any front-wall/window reflections. Plants were positioned at first reflection points to work as diffusers.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a billion.

Darko.Audio video editor Jana Dagdagan spent the weekend at the Park Lane Hotel next to Central Park for her Earspace YouTube channel to capture Rossi’s L2 Signature electronics and the (binaural) sound of music as they played into the Harbeth loudspeakers, all in a less-than-optimally looking/sounding hotel room.

I’m sure you will agree that visually and sonically, Dagdagan’s video is a treat for the senses, one that does proper justice to the luxury nature of Rossi’s handiwork and his room setup skills:

Note - see video in separate link

what I heard here at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is not only a few extra inches of performance, but a few feet worth.

SUMMARY: The mid-range and treble was as effortless as anything I had encountered this year at any of the shows. Not to say it was out-right the best, but it was spooky in how it loaded the room and held voices inside the image when needed but allowed the vocals to show space when the recording demanded it. Again, a scale thing.What I was hearing my first go round was the bass. Gone was the boxy boom. Bass was massive and natural — and by natural I mean it was like real thunder, not a facsimile, or one of those pesky apartment neighbors who just got “Sub-Woofer: The Movie” on Blu-Ray. This was a rumble that seemed like it entered the room from out in the real world and gave no mind to the walls and windows in it’s way. 

RMAF 2018: Spatial Audio, Vinnie Rossi, Innuos and Anticable; a nomination for Best-In-Show sound

The Story

Starting at the source, the Innous ZENITH which is directly a more affordable version of their SE model, and spiritually their reference Statement model. The ZENITH is no slouch by any means, — seriously, it has three linear power supplies, it is not a toy — but the ZENITH is also not the company’s most refined offering. I want you to know this, because I especially took note of this once the music started playing. It shouldn’t sound this good, but here we are and there it does. The ZENITH’s purpose in the Innuos lineup is to bring down consumer costs while still out-performing when compared to similarly priced in-market competitors.

Then we come to Vinnie Rossi’sNEW for 2018 — L2 Signature Pre-amplifier which is Class-A “ultra-wide bandwidth” directly heated triode (DHT) pre-amplifier, which means that instead of the run-of-the-mill output tubes we all know and love, the DHT design allows Vinnie Rossi to expand into more exotic and truthfully more fun, and yes… more expensive tubes. But who cares about expensive? If you do and you are here, you probably needed to turn around and go home whilst at the Denver Airport.

The L2 pre-amplifier is compatible with 2A3, 45, 300B, PX4, 101D, 205D, SV811 and other 4-pin HDT families of tubes, which means the tube world is now a much sexier place to be with the Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature pre-amplifier in it. More features include dual-mono power supply with Belleson super regulators, a discrete 64-step ladder volume control using Pickering England silent relays, and finally as an option — a DAC module at $3,495 USD that does 32-bit / 768khz, DSD up to DSD512, using dual AK4977EQ converters, a (of course discrete) Class-A output stage, buffer and re-clocking, and more stuff I don’t understand, otherwise I would be doing and not writing.

The L2 Signature Mono-block Amplifiers at are not as complicated to understand. They are Class-A/AB Mosfet in topology, output 75 watts into 8-ohms, and 140 watts into 4-ohms — and before you ask — yes they are 2-ohm stable. Power supplies are taken directly from the US Navy’s Seawolf Class of submarines, okay, okay, maybe not true, but it sounded good. Are you still awake? — 100,000uF of low ESR power supply rail capacitance and each with a custom-wound 500VA power transformer. Wrap it all in half-inch thick aluminum, and slap the rear with a few WBT and Neutrik connectors, and now you’re in business.

Now we come to the part of the story where doubt, bias, and “speaker bigotry” enter the scene. Open baffle speakers have a history of being either A) a DIY thing B) a sound not for everyone C) a gimmick. With all of that “history” hanging over the heads of guys like Clayton Shaw (and others) who are making a legitimate case for open baffle loudspeakers to be taken seriously in certain hi-fi circles. Not only does Spatial Audio have to impress, they must impress against bias. Have they done so in recent history? I would say yes. But only to a point. They’ve made a splash in terms of refining what was once almost entirely a DIY hobby and of course for those who have already accepted “the DIY open baffle sound.”

The biases I have encountered against open baffle speakers run deep, and typically because in the upward battle of changing minds, I don’t think we’ve ever had an open baffle speaker reach the heights of Best-In-Show sound in the audiophile historical record. Think about it. If you’ve only ever compared to what sounds “good enough” in the pickiest of hi-fi circles (be them press or show attendee) then you’ll be seen as having limits, and therefore a gimmick. All of that is about to change.

The Spatial Lumina L2 is a 3-Way, open baffle, servo dipole loudspeaker featuring a top mounted 96db sensitive X32 Coaxial driver (that’s 12-inches of mid-range, and a 1-inch exit compression driver). Dual 12-inch servo controlled woofers (per speaker) which are self-powered and corrected by mono-block servo amplifiers. Impedance is the nominal 8-ohms, with a 6-ohm minimum, and at 48-inches high and 150 lbs each, they are no more intrusive than a pair of stocky 5th graders (sans the cell phone bill).

The Sound

The Spatial Room was a great way to end a mediocre Friday for me. I had made my way up to the 11th floor and down the shifty stairwells during my first quick pass, all the way down to Room 3018 before I really heard something to get excited about. It’s rooms like Vinnie’s and Clayton’s that really are “the energy” for that audio show feeling. You are either excited about them and sit for way too long listening and making requests, or it sets fire to your feet and you are now on a mission to find better or similar rooms to sonically wrestle away your opinions. I was feeling a bit of the former.

What I was hearing my first go round was the bass. Gone was the boxy boom. Bass was massive and natural — and by natural I mean it was like real thunder, not a facsimile, or one of those pesky apartment neighbors who just got “Sub-Woofer: The Movie” on Blu-Ray. This was a rumble that seemed like it entered the room from out in the real world and gave no mind to the walls and windows in it’s way. I like to think of this as bass scale. The servo subs, had this in gobs.

Bass is more than just thunder however, and where bass becomes musical I found the speed and immediacy of the servo controlled bass section to be damn near perfect, and for what I feel is a credit to the open baffle design, still on that higher scale than what box speakers can provide. None of that pulling-in that box speakers do when going up the frequency range. Speaking of servo bass, I lack the understanding of why more speaker builders don’t take advantage of this technology. It is corrected woofer performance, and I get that it is possibly just a matter of designers not knowing how to do it, but it surely would solve a lot of problems that speaker manufacturers have when it comes to system electronics matching options for the end user.

I leave the Spatial room, knowing I will come back Saturday with more exhibit room experiences under my belt. Saturday arrives and I’ve already met a few people who were impressed with Room 3018, and a few that were less than willing to have me drag them down to hear a Spatial open baffle speaker. But I insisted, and I can be quite convincing. Upon my return, I listened longer and deeper, and I gained a few new impressions. The mid-range and treble was as effortless as anything I had encountered this year at any of the shows. Not to say it was out-right the best, but it was spooky in how it loaded the room and held voices inside the image when needed but allowed the vocals to show space when the recording demanded it. Again, a scale thing.

When we talk about Best-In-Show sound, I can’t help but take into account that what I heard here at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is not only a few extra inches of performance, but a few feet worth. How many other speaker and electronics brands can admit they’ve made those kind of gains?

Videos

An interview with Vinnie Rossi launching new L2 Signature pre-amplifier and monoblocks at RMAF 2018

Vinnie Rossi L2 & Harbeth 40.2 at NY Audio Show 2018!

LIO "All things tech"