This is a repeat of a post I made over on AudioAsylum, but thought some would find it interesting if they did see it over there.

I've had a LSA VT-70 for about a week now and probably have about 15 or so hours on it, so these are initial impressions, not a long-term assessment.

The unit was ordered in mid-July knowing that Underwood was out of them and waiting for the next shipment. It finally arrived about a week ago. On unboxing, the amp is a simple cosmetic design, but nicely built and attractive. It is also heavy at 46 pounds.  A tube cage is included, but easy to remove and put back. A remote is also included -- it only adjusts volume and has a mute button, but no other functions.  One side-note, the remote does not include a battery, so you'll need to buy a CR-2032 cell for it if you want to use it.

This is a basic integrated tube amp with EL34 output tubes, producing 35 watts a channel. It has three line-level inputs, a volume control and an on/off switch. The front panel also has a 1/4" headphone jack and two VU meters with switches for the meter lights and and using them for tube bias adjustment.  All of the tubes (four EL34 outputs, one 12AX7 and two 12AU7s) are LSA branded so not sure who is the real manufacturer.  The rear of the amp has three sets of RCA inputs, a single pair of preamp outputs for a sub, and connections for one pair of speakers, with both 4 and 8 ohm options. The owners manual also says that you can use 6550 or KT88 output tubes in place of the EL34s if you wish to tube roll.

The amp is currently in my second system, hooked up to a pair of Spendor 4/5 bookshelf monitors I recently acquired. (This is Spendor's current interpretation of the classic LS 3/5a speaker.)  The results? Excellent.  The amp is effortless in driving the speakers to my desired listening levels, generally about 85 dB max, in the room. (Though not a big room at 12' X 12', it is completely open on the right to a larger room.)  The sound is clean and balanced from bass to treble. Transients and percussion are well presented with no sense of brittleness.  Midrange is smooth and clear; voices are excellent.  It has that 3-D quality that good tube amps give, but is not syrupy or muddy. I played a wide variety of music -- folk, rock, jazz, classical (from solo piano to orchestral) and found myself in that delightful spot of wanting to put on yet one more track after I thought I'd just put on the last song for the session.

In summary, this is a very good tube amp. I'm in agreement with the several professional reviews out there that say this is quite the deal.  List on the amp is $1,399 and, since it was only introduced this year, there is an intro price of $1,299. Shipping is extra. If you are looking for a tube amp that sounds good and looks good, I doubt that you'll find anything new that competes without spending quite a bit more.



I see the Stereophile review of the VT-70 just became available on their web site.  Once again, very positive overall comments from the reviewer, especially considering the price. The technical specs turned out about average for a push-pull, nominal feedback tube amp, but just goes to show that test numbers often don't tell you much about how a unit actually sounds. Otherwise, no one would ever buy a tube amp!

A final comment now that I've had the unit running for two months.  All of the original comments still hold true; the unit is a phenomenal value at this price and has excellent performance. Even the bias settings have stayed stable this entire time with no adjustment needed from when it came out of the box.

I'm thinking about trying out KT88s in lieu of the EL34s it comes with as I've always been fond of those tubes.  I think my only wish for this amp is that it had set of inputs for the power amp side to go along with the preamp outputs.  But, that's one of the compromises one often sees when cost considerations play a role in building an otherwise excellent piece of kit.  

So, unless anyone has a specific question about the amp, I think this is it for my commentary.

Any comparisons of the LSA vs the similarly priced Willsentons that are around $1500?  What are the other big competitors at this price?  Seems to check all of the boxes, just wanna make sure I'm not missing something major.  This would be my first piece of tube gear. 


Hopeful chain

bluesound node > black ice dac FX wifi > int amp > la scala

I had the opportunity to hear this amp at the Capital Audio Fest last weekend.  Of course when you’re listening to a system with unfamiliar components it can be hard to isolate how an amp sounds.  I do know that what I heard sounded great.  The bass was taut and punchy, the mids warmish and the top end clean and non-fatiguing.  Build quality appeared to be excellent.  It’s amazing what you can get for a reasonable amount of money these days.  The $1500 I spent on my Willsenton R300 is unequivocally one of the best audio purchases I’ve ever made.