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To Garrett Hongo,

Have you ever had the opportunity to compare a VAC Phi 200 to the 70/70? I keep hoping to find that middle ground between the two (being a classical musician, and wanting that oboe to sound like it's made out of wood, not cardboard, but also wanting to get every bit of detail). Hence the question. VAC gear comes up so seldom in reviews, and comparisons within the line seem to come up often online, and there is a perceived idea of a "house sound" with VAC.

Many thanks,

No -- not really. But I think they're birds of a different feather. The 70/70 is a push-pull 300B stereo amp that uses, what, four tubes per side in parallel?

The Phi 200 is a KT88 push-pull that uses two KT88s per side. Kind of VAC's version of ultralinear, but, then again, not really. The 70/70 is way on the edge of what a 300B tube can be employed to do and the sound is very appealing to many -- warmth, luscious midrange, etc.

The Phi 200 is incredibly fast, resolving, and tight in the bass. In many ways, close to a solid-state character to it, but, then again, not really. It's much too articulate in the upper mids and treble.

Finally, I've never thought to compare them side to side. Again, birds of a different feather. It might be more appropriate to compare the 70/70 to the Canary CA-339 300B monoblocks and the Phi 200 to ARC's Reference 110 or VTL monos.

I'm a listener and lover of classical music, actually. It's generally what I base my assessments upon. Have you read my review of the Phi 200? In it, I address the issue of a "house sound" associated with VAC gear -- a notion that I'd had myself -- until I heard the Phi 200. Something else entirely! . . . Garrett Hongo