Michael Lavorgna reviews the L2 Signature Preamplifier & Monoblocks (Part 1/2)
…the Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature components offered some of the most musically satisfying sound I’ve heard in the Barn. Bravo!
“The Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature system goes deep. Way, way deep into the music. The overall presentation is rock solid, super stable, squeaky clean and precise coupled with a full boded and rich but not over-ripe sound.
The L2 system made my DeVore’s sound like new speakers, capable of things hereto only imagined. Bass response in particular was better than I’ve heard from the Xs and by “better” I mean in every meaningful way which includes tone, body, weight, and impact. The sound image completely decoupled from the speakers, filling the barn with stereo-defying presence in every dimension. Sounds picked, plucked, strummed, and sung sprung from all over the damned place like a sonic fireworks display. At the same time there was a tactile sense of the subtle, a caressing of micro-detail and nuance, allowing time and timing to create tension and release, the stuff that turns hifi into a moving musical experience. Balancing and delivering all of these traits is, in my experience, something special.
I’ve been following Vinnie Rossi’s hifi products going on 15 years and I am happy to see, hear, and report that he has arrived at the deep end of the pool with a truly satisfying splash. Coupled with my source and speakers, the Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature components offered some of the most musically satisfying sound I’ve heard in the Barn. Bravo!”
-Michael Lavorgna, TwitteringMachines.com
Anthony Kershaw reviews the L2 Signature Preamplifier
…It could live in my system happily. Forever. Very highly recommended.
“…As Rossi suggests, the preamplifier is dead silent. No tube rush, nothing. A black background for the musicians to paint their sounds. During the break in, I had become enamoured with its sound during my standard sneak peeks. Warm, rich and refined, yet with incredible detail. All instruments shone with the most beautiful halo of vibrant sound. Vocals, too. Deep, rich, throaty. But with a harmonic ‘completeness’ to their presentation. Almost tactile. And definitely goosebump time. I could imagine the artists smiling and nodding with pride if they heard this type of playback.
…The L2 enhanced my very fine digital setup, and considering the preamplifier section of the Continuum S2 (basically, a Jeff Rowland Capri II preamplifier) is outstanding and an obvious match for its connected amplifier section, it couldn’t better the gorgeous sounds the 300Bs were portraying. For sure, a completely different topology, but the way Rossi has his tubes singing is very persuasive.
…Adding this fantastic bit of kit will elevate your musical experience into regions you have yet imagined. “
-Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia.com
Jack Roberts reviews the L2 Signature Monoblocks
…These are simply very seductive sounding amplifiers.
“I think the first two things you will notice about these monoblocks is their bass and their soundstaging. Whether kettle drums, a standup bass or a big pipe organ these amps have iron-fisted control of the bass. The bass is also deep, fast and powerful.
The second thing I noticed was the soundstage, and it was huge. With the L2 Signature amps in my system, the soundstage floated behind the speakers and way to the outside of the speakers… The L2 Signatures allowed my system to do this better than any amp I have heard.
The midrange has a wonderfully natural, relaxed, liquid, sweet and warm sound. Sinatra, or Ella’s voices or Ben Webster’s sax all sounded so relaxed and effortless. These power amps enabled me to hear layers of tones and textures of the music that came out of a very natural sounding background of silence. Performances were quite involving and moving at both low and loud listening levels.
With these amps, my system also had the capability to let me hear the lushness from the strings and woodwinds. When you combine this midrange with the bass I talked about above, you have a real winner on your hands.”
– Jack Roberts, The Audio Beatnik
“The 12AU7 in Nagra’s Classic just couldn’t compete against the [L2 equipped with] Takatsuki 300B…
This underscored at least in my private appointment calender how today’s L2 truly was a class apart to justify its tariff in full. There was no sense comparing it to other preamps… Hifi reviews aren’t blood sports…
Vinnie’s L2 now allowed one to clone advanced SET attributes from properly spec’d transistor amps. De facto it meant, 1) hitching that type sound to SET-unfriendly ‘normal’ speakers, and 2) doing so with no impact on musical choices.
A solution as elegantly simple as Vinnie Rossi’s L2 Preamp we might have expected from one of the big established tube houses like Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, VTL… yet none of them—not one!—managed. The global market has nothing at all like it. L2 is the first and only one of its kind…
L2 stands alone. It also does in offering that very practical alternate tube-less path of Jfet buffer for when your glass may be down awaiting replacement, or for when you need a bypass. It does so with its 2.5V, 4V and 5V toggles which take tube specimens from all three voltage families. It does so with its optional DAC and phono boards, with its special-order headphone amp module. To anyone who’s been in hifi long enough to know that invariably, you can find something very similar behind a different face plate, the Vinnie Rossi L2 is a major stumper. With it, there just isn’t, period…
With the Vinnie Rossi L2 line stage, that well-trodden claim—of direct-heated triodes being the most linear low-distortion audio gain devices ever made—has finally grown legs to stand on and not just walk but sprint like a racer… As now truly themselves without the traditional crutches or interpreters, they finally step into the bright light of day with genuine purity and speed. And that equals bandwidth, noise and resolution figures which are on par with the best of transistors. The resultant sonics are very special!”
– Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com
“The base price of $4,875 USD for the [LIO Integrated] amplifier alone is a steal, but at $12,660 USD for all the options listed above – in one chassis – it is criminal for this level of sonic musicality.” Rafe Arnott, PartTimeAudiophile.com (“Best of 2016 Award”)
“…the sheer fact of the LIO was undeniable. It’s different. It’s great. And with the unlimited upgradability, the value being offered has thrown down the gauntlet in the ring of today’s high-end.” Scot Hull, PartTimeAudiophile.com (“Best of 2016 Award”)
“If one wants the fragrance of direct-heated triodes pure… I’ve not heard or seen anything more powerful than this.”
“…Gives new meaning to the term plug ‘n’ play. It’s even more flexible and fun and useful than we knew when it first bowed. In my book, all of that—and whatever might be coming down the pike for it —makes it the one of 2016. ”
Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com (“2016 Component of the Year Award”)
“Right out of the box, the Vinnie Rossi LIO played music that flowed smoothly and silkily—and was noticeably more quiet and grainless…”
“The LIO was extremely good at getting out of the way and letting this music have its way with me.”
“To my ears, it delivered the best of tubes (color, vividness, liquidity) and the best of solid-state (quietness, control). Its highly adaptable modular design combines a fashionable Italianate aesthetic with near-state-of-the-art sound.”
“If there is a more innovative and musically satisfying integrated amplifier than the Vinnie Rossi LIO, I have yet to experience it.”
Herb Reichert, Stereophile (“Class-A Recommended Component 2015, 2016, 2017”)
“Sonically I found the LIO to be a highly transparent and extremely low-noise component that allowed the music to pass through it unscathed.”
“I was impressed by the LIO’s overall level of finesse and transparency.”
“The LIO consistently delivered music in a way that focused on the music.”
Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound (September 2015 issue, “Editor’s Choice Award 2016,” TAS 2017 Buyer’s Guide)
“…tonality, timbre, textural detail, and finesse and, most of all, tonal density – the LIO takes it…
The LIO not only bundles speaker amp, head-amp and phono stage inside a single chassis, it keeps power supply to all three isolated from mains noise to wring stellar performance from each.”
LIO’s first professional review gets the coveted LUNAR ECLIPSE AWARD from 6Moons
It’s smart, handsome, changeable and fun. And it’s ultra hip…”
“…Unique…its novel play’n’plug concept of hifi legos [is] cool.”
“…the LIO by Vinnie Rossi gets very high marks. What’s more, you save yourselves thousands…”
“…Box count, functionality, future-proofiness and, first and foremost, value. No matter which direction you approach it from, LIO is a remarkable heavy hitter.”
“Rather than being set in stone, this concept is flexible, adaptive and ‘open source’. When you add it all up, the conclusion to this lengthy assignment really wrote itself as predestined and inescapable. When all the moons align as they do so very very rarely, we call it a Lunar Eclipse award.”
“…LIO can do it all.”
“…clarity is beyond anything I’ve heard at home.”
“…tone was brilliant, clear and sweet.”
“Any way you want it, the Vinnie Rossi LIO can deliver the best sound from your LPs, digital files, headphones or speakers, LIO can do it all.”
From the Newport Beach 2015 show report:
“…the new Vinnie Rossi LIO integrated amp would be my early pick for the best sound of Newport 2015.”
“By far the most innovative single amp, preamp, and integrated amp I came across at the show was this hybrid unit, the LIO Modular, designed by one Vinnie Rossi”
Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound (Newport Beach Show 2015)
“Build and sound quality are extremely impressive, so the LIO would be a cool product to own purely on the basis of its sound. It hyper-versatility, though, give it multi-purpose capabilities few other components I have seen could every hope to match.”
Chris Martens, The Absolute Sound (SoCal CanJam 2015)
Best In Show, RMAF 2015
“…at the end of the day I’m still dreaming about the sound of the LIO/Harbeth system. Paired with the LIO the sound was spectacular. Seamless top to bottom. Open, clear…but with great bass and dynamics. The LIO is doing all the right things…”
Lee Scoggins, Part-Time Audiophile (Rocky Mountain Audio Festival 2015)
“…that room was magical. Paired with the new Vinnie Rossi separates, I was gobsmacked.”
Scot Hull, Part-Time Audiophile (Rocky Mountain Audio Festival 2015)
…easy to recommend.
“Awe inspiring and terrific tonality.”
“The Vinnie Rossi LIO is very easy to recommend.”
…No noise floor – Zero
“Very black backgrounds… Voices and violin/string tone were sensational
…no noise floor – zero. The dynamics were stunning especially noticeable on drums/percussion and horns, low level details revealed easily.”
“One of the biggest headaches for audiophiles who use digital products is obsolescence. Often a brand new cutting-edge device turns into a boat anchor overnight as newer formats become available. Vinnie Rossi… has come up with a solution that is so unique…”