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Naught has changed in terms of operability and functional features but JE Audio’s John Lam described a number of internal and circuit refinements that he assured me reaped rewards. Much as I thought the VL10 was a solidly engineered and sonically accomplished preamp, I found back then that my reference Supratek Sauvignon possessed still higher levels of instrumental presence and imaging three-dimensionality while being less upfront and more involving.

Since 2009 John Lam has worked on enhancing the VL10‘s overall sound quality and addressing those issues while improving minor cosmetic details, primarily the design of the top cover’s valve access grille  “The are a number of changes from VL10 to VL10.1 including the use of a MOSFET current source, a redesign of the DC precision regulated power supply, the use of different types of resistors and pure silver cable within the circuitry. JE Audio is a young company and the VL10 was the our first preamp. Since the VL10 was introduced in 2007 we have had many more new ideas as we gained experience in new circuit designs and different electronic components.

"Technical improvement comes along naturally with the use of MOSFET current source and a better regulated power supply. But the major aim is to improve the sonic performance of the VL10.1. Cosmetically the changes of the chassis from VL10 to VL10.1 are minor and they include a better open window design on the top plate and a slightly different design on the front panel."

The VL10.1 retains the same fully balanced valve configuration as the VL10 where a team of six 6H30s provide thermionic bliss. The minimalist front panel once again features a central on/off button this time with a nicely countersunk indent plus large rotary knobs on either side; to the left an input control and to the right the volume control. I’m disinclined to regurgitate further on the circuit design other than to mention JE Audio’s claim that the Wideband Unity Balanced Amplifier (WUBA) design has been patented and is the point of difference between it and your run-of-the-mill preamplifier. Please check the original review here or JE Audio’s website for finer technicalities.