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The ’450s’ new little sibling, the ’185, is based on the ’450 but reworked to make the most of the EL34 power tube. A well-made EL34 is one of the gold standards for high-end, hand-wired guitar amplifiers and has a delightful sweetness and delicacy that, backed by a traditionally stiff and overbuilt VTL power supply, yields nothing in the way of traction and oomph in the lower ranges. The ’185-anchored system was immediately inviting, very much a “pour a glass of wine, put on some tunes and relax” system. I can’t imagine any real music lover not falling in love with the perfectly wonderful sound this system produced. Paul Bolin-The Audio Beat
|Vacuum Tube Complement||8 x EL34 or 6CA7, 1 x 12AT7, 1 x 12BH7|
20Hz – 20kHz <3% THD
|Tetrode: 225 Watts, Triode: 140 Watts
|Input sensitivity||Variable between 1-2V, depending upon DF setting|
|Output load range||4Ω – 8Ω|
|S/N ratio||225W Tetrode & 140W Triode: -90dB, 120Hz|
|Power consumption||Idle = 270W, Full power = 550W|
|Primary mains fuse rating||100/120V = 12A Ceramic Slo Blo, 220/240V = 6A Ceramic Slo Blo|
|Input fuse||100/120V = 1A Ceramic Slo Blo, 220/240V = 1A Ceramic Slo Blo|
|Logic fuse||100/120V = 1A Ceramic Slo Blo, 220/240V = 1A Ceramic Slo Blo|
|B+ fuse rating||Plate Fuse – 1.5A fast acting 600V, Screen Fuse – 0.75A fast acting 600V|
|Dimensions W x D x H||18.5 x 18 x 9 inches (47 x 45.7 x 23 cm)|
|Weight||85lbs (38.5kg) per monoblock unpacked, 100lbs (45.4kg) packed|
Following the footstep of the VTL MB-450 Series III, the MB-185 Series III Signature monoblock amplifier has gone through the same technological improvements as its bigger brother. The upgrade to the Series III platform is extensive with a complete rework of the signal path and new features added while retaining all the user friendliness of the previous model such as automatic tube biasing and comprehensive fault sensing.
Upgrades in the MB-185 include a fully balanced differential input stage driving a differential phase splitter and a lower impedance push-pull output stage. Also new is a shorter, faster and fully balanced negative feedback loop, with zero global negative feedback. The negative feedback loop completely eliminates ringing and requires no capacitor compensation to maintain critical phase integrity and information. The result is an amplifier that remains stable even under the most demanding loads.
Another significant change to the MB-185 is the switch to EL-34 tubes. Long admired for their rich, natural and open sound, the EL-34s bring a distinctive new sonic signature to the amplifier that emphasizes the integration and inner details of music. The output transformer has been completely redesigned and carefully matched to complement the midrange purity and quick, taut bass of EL34s.
There is also a new user adjustable Damping Factor Feedback control that allows the user to adjust the amplifier’s output impedance by varying the amount of negative feedback. Impedance can now be precisely set to suit the listener’s taste, and to improve control of the loudspeaker loads to deliver best performance.
The 4 possible settings are:
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