If you are looking for a high performance amplifier in one box, that doesn’t take up a load of space, the IT-85 could fit the bill perfectly. With a generous 60 watts per channel it can drive all but the most difficult of loudspeakers quite easily, there is enough current delivery on tap to control most speakers effortlessly. Sonically the presentation is pure VTL – silky smooth, fast, musical with brilliant imagery and strong muscular and controlled bass response, which goes low, whilst upper bass has superb slam.
The headphone socket is driven off the tube output stage and output transformer of the power amplifier section thus making it an ideal high performance pure tube headphone amplifier for headphone aficionados – switch into headphone mode and you don’t just get a basic headphone amp behind it, you get the full IT-85 – from a headphone perspective it is stunningly good and in this day and age I know plenty of users resort to headphones for late night listening sessions for fear of upsetting neighbours and their other halves!
The IT-85 works wonderfully well when used with a sensible CD player and speakers, but put something a bit special in front of it source wise and it really comes into its own. The presentation is engaging and insightful, working just as well with smaller scale recordings as full blown fireworks of large orchestras. It sounds good when first turned on, after 40 minutes or so of being powered up it begins to open up and give you a hint of whats to come. After a couple of hours it really sings.
The IT-85 costs £6045 and you could quite easily spend more money on a separate pre/power or integrated from one of the more “well known” hi-fi brands and end up with a sound that is not as musical or enjoyable to live with. Integrated amplifiers at this sort of level often get neglected, people turn their nose at them because at the price of admission 2 boxes are expected to be norm. Put these preconceptions to one side and listen, you may get a pleasant surprise!
- High power, capable of driving a wide range of loudspeakers
- Remote controlled volume and mute (custom remote wand), automatic mute on power up and down
- Pure tube active line stage, with buffered pre-out and regulated B+
- One pair of processor loop / direct amplifier inputs
- One pair of tape outputs
- Amplifier-driven headphone output, front panel selector switch (pre out mutes on headphone insertion)
- No-load automatic shutdown in headphone circuit
- Built-in upgrade path for precisely gain-matched horizontal biamping with VTL ST-85
- Extruded machined aluminum front panel in silver (standard) or black, and protective cage
- High quality VTL ST-85 power supply components and output and power transformers
- Easily accessible individual output tube bias measurement and adjustment points on top deck
- Angled-back chassis for easy access of inputs and outputs, sturdy quality structural fit and finish
- Detachable IEC power cord, high quality gold-plated VTL custom binding posts and RCA jacks
- All hand-built in the VTL California factory
Vacuum Tube Complement: 4 x EL34, 4 x 12AT7, 2 x 12AU7
Output power: 60 Watts
Class of operation: Class AB1
Inputs: 5 pairs of single-ended RCA, Proc/Amp Input
Outputs: 1 pair 5-way binding posts, Pre Out, Tape Out, Headphone Out
Input sensitivity: Line in: 180mV, Amp in: 575mV
Input impedance: Line in: 20kΩ, Amp in: 135kΩ
Output impedance: Amp out: 1.55Ω, Headphone out: 16Ω, Preamp out: 400Ω
Load setting: Speakers: 5Ω, Headphones: 50-500Ω
Power consuption: Idle = 200W, Full Power=600W
Dimensions W x D x H: 15.75 x 11 x 7 inches, 40 x 28 x 17.75 cm
Weight: 55lbs (29.5Kg) fully packed