TL5.5 Series II Signature Preamplifier


Since its introduction in 1997, the TL-5.5 has earned a reputation for outstanding performance at an economical price. Now, VTL has significantly upgraded this preamp, using many of the technological innovations derived from the flagship TL-7.5 preamplifier. The result is a modern full-featured preamplifier that outperforms in every way, making it one of the top values of any tube preamplifier in its category.

The fundamental qualities that made the original TL-5.5 special—its all-tube design, the optional retrofittable phono stage, and its superb sonic characteristics—are unchanged. What’s new is the application of advanced audio technology sourced from VTL’s TL-7.5 Reference and TL-6.5 Signature preamplifiers. This technology uses a simple circuit topology with low negative feedback and a high current/low impedance output stage in a low-noise microprocessor-based design. Top quality parts, fully balanced operation, and precision-regulated and shielded power supplies yield a full yet neutral sound with high resolution, transparency, speed and powerful dynamics.

Much of the engineering prowess inherent in these world-class preamps has been transferred to the new TL5.5. New fully regulated power supplies are similar to those of its bigger siblings and the unit is now fully balanced, for inputs as well as outputs. Similarly, VTL’s latest thinking from our new and acclaimed TP-6.5 Signature phono stage is now applied to the optional MC phono stage, which can be easily retrofitted internally. It offers 68dB of gain and a balanced output, with a JFET/12AU7 high current MC stage (or high-grade stepup transformer), split-pole passive RIAA stage with a dual 12AX7 MM stage for maximum headroom voltage swing. Triple-precision power supply regulation and full gain and load setting with RIAA enhanced and rumble cut functions translate to a clean and quiet yet dynamic sound that brings vinyl to life!

VTL has delivered on its goal of bringing advanced engineering and modern functionality to the new TL-5.5 Series II preamplifier. With the same highly intuitive user interface of the renowned TL-7.5 and 6.5, and a full-function remote, the new TL-5.5 is a pleasure to use. A rigid, well-shielded chassis yields quiet operation while bi-directional RS-232 serial interface allows for seamless integration into any audio system. A luxurious cosmetic makeover includes a sleek and visually striking precision-milled faceplate similar to those used on its much more expensive brethren. For a well-priced, high-performance all-tube preamplifier, the TL-5.5 is a truly fine addition to any system.

TL5.5 II Back Panel
TL5.5 II with optional internal phono inside view

Functionality features

  • Almost half the price of the TL-6.5 Signature Preamplifier
  • Luxurious cosmetics to match with Reference and Signature models
  • Fully balanced differential linestage with increased functionality
  • Optional internally retrofittable phono stage, with user adjustable cartridge loading and gain options
  • Precision-regulated B+ and B- supplies
  • Tube life extender circuit with B+ delay and soft filament ramp on power on
  • Balanced design, low-radiation power transformer
  • Quiet logic: Microprocessor sleep mode, quiet non-matrixing LED display with latching shift registers

Line Stage: All-tube, with lower gain high current 12AU7 circuit and 12AT7 buffer, minimal negative feedback

  • Two balanced /single-ended inputs, five single-ended inputs, one tape in, one balanced out, one single-ended out, one buffered record out
  • Soft-touch relay input select
  • 117-step chip-based differential volume control, with 3-digit display
  • Higher resolution via single higher-resolution attenuator, and software control for balance and offset
  • Switchable gain between normal and low gain
  • Mono control on front panel
  • Fully bi-directional RS-232 control: programmable input offset, any input programmable as pass-through, and input disable, tape monitor and Mono control on front panel
  • Two programmable trigger outputs
  • Full function aluminum metal remote
  • TP-6.5 chassis size with all precision machined aluminum cosmetic

vtl tl55 back panel

Phono stage: JFET/parallel 12AU7 design from TP-6.5: 66dB gain balanced (23dB MC, 45dB MM)

  • Split-pole Passive RIAA with paralleled 12AX7 and 12AT7 gain stage
  • MM / MC select via jumper
  • MM Gain setting: fixed at 40 dB
  • MC Gain settings via jumper: 3 steps of 6dB: 66dB, 60dB, 54dB
  • Loading: MM 47k, MC: 100 ohm, 220 ohm, 470 ohm, 1K ohm, 47K ohm
  • Enhanced RIAA (selectable via jumper)
  • Rumble filter setting via front panel
  • Selectable bal/ S/E output via jumper
  • Dual-use buttons on front panel for phono-only functions
  • MC and MM gain trims


pdficon_smallTL5.5 Data Sheet

Technical Specifications

Vacuum Tube Complement 2 x 12AU7, 4 x 12AT7 (line stage)
Inputs 2 pair balanced/XLR or RCA single-ended, 6 pairs single-ended/RCA
Outputs 1 pair balanced out, 1 pair single-ended RCA out, 1 pair single-ended RCA buffered Record Out
Remote control functions Power, Source Select, Volume up/down, Mute, Fade, Balance Control, Phase Reverse
Gain Normal Gain -11dB single ended, 17dB balanced; Switchable to Low Gain – 6dB SE, 11dB balanced
Output impedance 150Ω, Max 400Ω @ 10Hz
Input impedance 35kΩ
Frequency Response 1Hz – 200kHz, +0 -1dB
Maximum Output Voltage <1% THD 30V @ 10Hz – 200kHz, 1.75V into 600 ohms @ 1%THD
Channel separation >100dB @ 1kHz (>80dB @ 20kHz)
Power consuption 60W line stage, 130W with phono stage
Dimensions W x D x H 17.5 x 17.5 x 4.75 Inch (44.45 x 44.45 x 12.06 cm)
Weight 40lbs (18.12Kg) fully packed, 30lbs (13.6Kg) unpacked
TL5.5 Phono Stage MM MC
Vacuum Tube Complement 2 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AT7 2 x 12AT7, 2 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AU7
Load 45kΩ Selectable 100Ω, 220Ω, 470Ω, 1kΩ, 47kΩ
Gain 40dB Selectable 54dB, 60dB, 66dB

VTL TL-5.5 Series II Signature Preamplifier and ST-150 Power Amplifier Musical Soul

Like a lip-smacking bottle of wine that leaves you anticipating the next glass, this VTL tandem will have you excitedly pulling out record after record.

… VTL worked hard to pack a lot of price-to-performance value into the TL-5.5 Series II. In my experience it has succeeded marvelously.

Read the full review here…

- Wayne Garcia, The Absolute Sound, “”, March 2015

VTL TL5.5 II Preamplifier with Phono

La prima versione del TL5.5 venne introdotta nel 1997 ed è stato il preamplificatore top di gamma di VTL fino all’introduzione del TL7.5 nel 2002; poco diffuso in Italia, ha avuto un discreto successo di pubblico negli Stati Uniti grazie alla meritata fama di bel suono e al prezzo ragionevole… Read the full review here…

- Marco Benedetti, Audio Review, No.315, October 2010

Pre/Power Amplifier | VTL TL5.5 Series II Signature/ST-150

…Every kick, the stretching of the heads, the snap of the sticks – this is indeed visceral sound. VTL has delivered a package that can segue seamlessly from the sweet harmonies of a doo-woop quintet to the in-your-face slam of power rock…

…What matters is the sheer silky naturalness of the sound, matched by the authority one demands of units costing far more. Robust yet refined, well built – this is pure class. Read the full review here…

- - Ken Kessler, Hi Fi News, UK, July 2012

VTL TL-5.5 Series II Signature line preamplifier

Read the full review here…

- Robert J. Reina, Stereophile, June 2013