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virtue audio

Positive Feedback ISSUE 50
july/august 2010

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virtue audio

Virtue TWO.2 Class-T Integrated Amplifier

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

Virtue Audio two

 

 

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Marten Bird Loudspeakers and REL Stadium III subwoofer

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, E.A.R. 890 amplifiers (ran as monos), E.A.R. 534 stereo amplifier, NuForce Reference 9 SE V2 amplifiers, E.A.R. 912 preamplifier, and an E.A.R. 834L Tube Line Stage.

SOURCES
E.A.R. Disk Master Turntable with two Helius Omega Tonearms, E.A.R. Acute CD player, ModWright Sony 9100 Player with tube power supply, ModWright Sony 9100ES with Signature Truth Modifications, Mod/Bybee Filters and Revelation Cryo Silver Umbilical. Alesis Masterlink 24/96 Recorder/Playback Deck, and the Benchmark DAC 1 revised. Koetsu Rosewood Signature Phono Cartridge. Pioneer DVL 919 LD/DVD Player, and a Marantz DV8400 DVD/SACD/CD player. Magnum Dynalab MD-108 Reference Tuner, Marantz 10B FM Tuner, Day Sequerra Reference FM1 Tuner, and Scott 350B FM Stereo Tuner, AQ 7500 FM Antenna, Stax 7t Electrostatic headphones, Grado Reference 1 headphones, and a Grado headphone amplifier.

CABLES
Kubala-Sosna Elation Interconnects, Speaker Cables, and Power Cords. Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Harmonic Technology CyberLight, Harmonic Technology Magic 2, Dual-Connect interconnects, Dynamic Design THB Nebula, Soundstring, Kimber Select balanced, Kimber TAK phono AG, Kimber Hero balanced and single-ended interconnects, and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II balanced interconnects. Kimber D-60 Digital Interconnects. Kimber Select 3038 Silver, Kubala-Sosna Emotion, and Harmonic Technology Magic Reference Silver speaker cables. Kimber Palladian, Tara RSC and Decade, Tice, Soundstring, and Kubala-Sosna Emotion AC power cords.

ACCESSORIES
Monster Reference 350 Mark II v2 Power Conditioner, World Power Power Wing, Tice Clock, and Audio Prism Quiet Line IIs. Cable Cooker 2.5, Winds Stylus Pressure Gage, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, VPI Record Cleaning Machine 16.5. Audio Magic's Quantum Physics Noise Disrupters.

 

You like exotic, cutting edge amplifier technology? You want an 80-watt per channel integrated amp that sounds pretty much like nothing at all? You want it second generation so that all the bugs are gone and added features include the world's best caps, superb battery power supply, and a sub-woofer connection all available at incredibly low cost? And, you want to hold the entire piece of gear in the palm of your hand? Well audiophiles, the Virtue TWO.2 is the ticket to ride and what a swell uber-musical ride it is!

Utilizing the powerful Apogee Tripath DDX2200 series power chips and stuffed [and I mean tightly stuffed!] with AuriCap capacitors and tons of techno-cool goodies by the legendary Roger Sheker, Chief Designer of Audience LLC, the TWO.2 is as much fun to use as it gets in today's hot audio environment. Plus, the review sample came in red, my favorite color.

Virtue Audio two

It took me 5 minutes to set it all up. I used a pair of Paradigm V20 Mk.3 speakers, Harmonic Technology Pro 9 reference bi-wire speaker cables, a Denon Universal DVD 2200 Player, and a pair of Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects. I plugged the Virtue into the optional Dodd Battery Supply and was on my way. Very nice sounding ice cold, it sang beautifully after 24 hours of playing a CD in repeat mode. How cool is this!

The super pure copper connectors made attaching all the wires a snap. I can't see a flaw in this amazing package. Is this the Dynaco Stereo 70 for today's audio youth who want sophisticated sound at a reasonable price? Heck yes! I'll gladly admit that I initially figured I'd last 10 minutes at most listening to the Virtue. I was sure it would sound like some Zappo Receiver you might purchase at Best Buy or Radio Shack for your 10 year old nephew. Instead, I went from cheap no-name interconnects, to Kimber KCAG interconnects, to $3000 Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects and heard every change and improvement clearly! Is this some kind of legerdemain or are we seeing and hearing a new technology as promised by many engineering gurus of today?

Here's the deal. The Virtue's Class-T technology is very low distortion, very musical, smooth and un-fatiguing, and even natured from highest to lowest notes. It sounds like both tubes and good solid state… sort of quick, snappy, open, airy, and elegant. It does not blur definition or dull the highs like many pricey ICE amps. It does not stress out or get hard sounding when pushed and clips very softly like tubes. I like its well rendered depth and big sound staging along with spot on imaging. Vocals are really lovely and realistic. Complex musical passages resolve very well. I could not make the Virtue distort or crunch and I tried! The bass is powerful and deep.

I never heard the popular 2005 Virtue ONE.1. The brand new TWO.2 is clearly a tweaked and finished product. A boon to those searching for more from a desk top system, the Virtue will power good speakers in a medium size room quite admirably. It is said to work with loads from 2 - 20 ohms with max output at 4 ohms. The 6 ohm, 90dB efficient Paradigms were powered to ear shattering levels with the Virtue TWO.2.

The Virtue has only one pair of high quality RCA inputs so you'll need a switch box if you want to hook up a larger system with more than one source. The stepped type volume control is mighty fine. There is no remote. The TWO.2 is very stable and may be operated without speakers attached.

Virtue is now offering a bigger Sensation series of Class-T integrated amplifiers with three RCA inputs and remotes. Watch PFO for upcoming reviews of these very cool looking products.

I hesitate to continue to wax poetic about a $598 integrated amp [including the excellent Dodd battery pack.] How will anyone take me seriously after this? I guess I'll just have to risk it. You folks who have been looking for a wham bam super deal in high value amplification, here it is! It's available factory direct from Virtue Audio and it's called the TWO.2.

Recently I read an article about a tube amp from China that put out 2.5 watts and cost about the same as the Virtue. Even if those 2.5 watts were the greatest watts in audio history, so what! Unless you plan to power a hearing aid or some weird horn contraption, the Virtue will entertain you, involve you, and make your great exploration of fine audio a lot of fun. I like fun! End of story. Robert H. Levi

TWO.2
Fully Tricked Out Price: $598 [plus shipping and tax if applicable] Accepts Visa and MC

Virtue Audio
http://store.virtueaudio.com
1-877-847-8968

 

 

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