The VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier delivers much of the sonic beauty and musical magic of VAC’s Phi 300.1, in a 100 wpc stereo version (also available as mono blocs).
“They have bass command that is up there with the best solid state amplifiers I’ve experienced, along with the liquidity, transparency and beauty associated with the very best valve amplifiers. It leaves me many yards closer to the goal of live music making recreated, and they are a “must hear” for anyone searching for the ultimate in valve amplifiers.”
– Rafael Todes, reviewer and musician, HiFi World (read the review)
“Kevin Hayes has come up with something very special in the VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier: a tubed stereo amplifier with the speed, grip, and top-end extension of solid-state, yet with the flow, sparkle, and treble sweetness of tubes. It’s a serious high-end investment, but it deserves to be considered by anyone who’s interested in the cutting edge of audio engineering. It’s a cliché to say that the sounds of the best tubed and solid-state electronics are now closer to each other than ever before, especially if those sounds have lost something of the magic of vintage gear, but the VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier has a magic all its own — there’s a commanding ghost in this machine that sings clearly, cleanly, and with potent vitality.
– Garrett Hongo, soundstagenetwork.com (read the review)
“The VAC sound is audio-writ large but properly proportioned; it is elegant, opulent and ebullient. The vastness and spatiality of the soundstage with the Phi 200 is quite surprising when heard for the first time – you likely have not heard the expansiveness a fine tube amp can bring to a system… My experience with the VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier is that I can be assured that no matter which loudspeaker I put into the rig I’ll get top quality sound… Their quality, reliability and unimpeachable sound earn them a resounding recommendation.”
– Doug Schroeder, Dagogo.com (read the review)
“Veteran speaker engineer Albert Von Schweikert wasn’t in the room at the time, but his astounding VR-9SE ($90,000/pair) was making the quite a sound in his absence. The smaller sibling of the flagship VR-11SE, this 350 lb, two-module mini-behemoth was paired with VAC’s brand-new Phi-200 100Wpc amplifier, Signature linestage ($14,000), and Phi Alpha D/A Converter ($7500). An older Oracle transport and what appeared to be Cardas Golden Cross cabling completed the system. Any notion that tube equipment lacks control in the bass was blown to pieces by this system’s tremendous authority in the bass region and beautiful presentation on high. Fabulous sound.”
– Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile
“It is critical in manufacturing perfectionist speakers to use related components that reveal all that’s possible; especially in resolution, tonality, dynamics and sound-staging. To this end we’ve evaluated and tried a vast array of the highest end equipment available. VAC’s amplifiers and preamps have turned out to be references of the highest order, and not coincidentally, terrifically enjoyable to listen to”
– Alon Wolf, owner Magico Loudspeakers (Magico’s speakers have won numerous top awards here and in Asia in the past few years and range from $22,400 to over $250,000)
VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier
The VAC Phi 200 Tube Amplifier made its debut in October at RMAF 2008. This 90 pound beauty is a 100+ watt per channel version of one of the world’s finest power amplifiers, the VAC Phi 300.1.
The VAC Phi amplifiers produce the areas of beauty typically associated with good vacuum tube designs, but also go well beyond this, producing bass impact, speed, and dynamics that have converted many adherents of solid state design.
The VAC Phi 200’s wideband power is developed using the KT88 beam power vacuum tube, exploited to fullest advantage by custom wound 21 section output transformers, each weighing 14 pounds. The Class A direct-coupled low-mu triode input and driver stages are those developed for the Phi 300. The combination results in fast, full, detailed sound. You will be surprised by details in your recordings that you had never heard before. The ambience and retrieval of reverb and decay information is particularly startling.
To many listeners, however, the single most surprising aspect of the VAC Phi 200’s performance is the absolutely full, powerful, dynamic portrayal of the deepest bass notes. You will hear the punch and control normally associated with solid state amplifiers, but coupled with the tunefulness, ambiance, and ring-out that only vacuum tubes seem able to develop.
Both fully balanced and single-ended input modes are supported; by switch setting, the front end circuitry is rearranged to be correct and optimal for the selected mode. Discreet amber indicator lights tell you when the output tubes are biased for ideal sound. The rugged 2.4 mm non-magnetic chassis is beautifully complimented by the lacquered 9.5 mm fascia. The massive power transformer is fully potted to assure quiet operation. A 12 volt trigger is provided.
- 100+ watt/channel stereo amplifier into 2, 4, and 8 ohms
- 200 watt mono mode using external jumpers
- Gain (level controls at maximum): 36 dB, SE input; 30 dB, balanced input
- frequency response 4 Hz to 75 kHz
- power bandwidth 13 Hz to 70 kHz
- single-ended input via RCA jack, non-inverting
- balanced input via XLR jack, non-inverting relative to pin 2 (“pin 2 hot”); amp is fully balanced in this mode
- residual noise typically 0.0007 volts at the speaker terminals
- 12 volt trigger
- illuminated logo
- dimensions: 17.8″ wide, 17.8″ front to back, 8.75″ high
- shipping weight 90 lbs.
- tubes: 4 x KT88, 4 x 6SN7
- detachable power cord, standard IEC power receptacle
- may be factory configured for operation at 100, 120, 220, or 230/240 volt operation
- Two years parts and labor warranty, excluding tubes (USA, see manual for full details).
- Specifications subject to change and improvement without notice