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Vexo Hifi VXSE S.E.T. Integrated Amplifier

Vacuum tubes from Italy

[Italian version]

Reviewer: Arvind Kohli - TNT USA
Reviewed: March 2009

[Vexo Hifi VXSE S.E.T.]

Manufacturer's Website VEXO HiFi - Italy
Valve Compliment KT88 x 2 , 5814A x 2
Output 15WPC RMS @ 1KHz
Negative feedback 10 dB
S/N ratio >90dB
Frequency Response 7Hz to 56KHz , +/- 1.5bd @ 1W; 15Hz to 56KHz , +/- 1.5db @ 15W
Input sensitivity 1V RMS @ 1KHz for 15W RMS
OutputImpedance 8ohms, 4ohms on request
Input Impedance 100 kohms
Weight 22kg
Warranty and Return policy 2 years amplifier, 6 months tubes


The VXSE-KT88C is a tubed integrated amplifier of single-ended aspiration and purist persuasion.

A truly minimalist design. The front panel provides seperate volume controls [Alps Blue series] for the left and right channels, and a 3 input selector switch - I cannot understand why everyone else does not do it this way. The only thing I would ask for is some calibrated markring on the left and right volume knobs so listener can balance the channels properly [maybe the minimal thing got carried a too far].

A fairly unique looking unit, but I can't make up my mind if I like the aesthetics or not. While each individual facet; whether it be the control knobs, the face plate or the legs; are beautiful in of their own. There is a lack of coherence of all the pieces put together - instead it seems more like a pile of nice parts. Quite a fuss has been made about isolation in this design - the chassis sits on an integrated polished chrome plate, to which 4 cones are fastened. The cones sits on another polished chrome plate, which finally sits on feet of a soft compliant material [rubber, I suspect]. As far as the aesthetics and isolation features are concerned, I am not too fazed one way or another - all I care about is how the thing sounds.

From a purist's point of view the design is exquisite - no remote, no tone controls and even dual volume pots. The rear feature three single ended inputs, one set of speaker connectors and an IEC receptacle. Alas, he review sample did not provide 8 and 4 ohm taps, but they have since assured me that current production does provide this facility.

Since they were not yet selling in North America when the samples were sent, Giampaolo of Vexo Hifi was willing to convert a review sample to 120V operation. Alas, my review sample had considerable hum from the transformer - which I was told they would work out before venturing into the 120V market, which they have begun as of recently.

Owner's manual was only provided in Italian [but seemed quite comprehensive], I hope an English version is provided when this product hits international markets.


[Vexo Hifi VXSE S.E.T.]

I was very surprised how well this amp drove my Dynaudio Contours. I was fully expecting the speakers to prove too taxing and the sound to be a bit starved. While those limitations did come into play when I attempted highish volume levels, I was very surprised at what beautiful music I heard at low to moderate volumes. And for what it did well, it did very well - detail and dynamics were not lacking in any way. The best way to characterize the tonal balance is - easy to listen to and beguiling.

If this amp worked well with the Dynaudio's, then it really sang with the Tonnian Labs DL-1 [95db sensitivity and 8ohm nominal impedance]. Most remarkable, were the dynamics that this combination produced. Additionally, as with the Dynaudios the detail was also very impressive. With both speakers, what was abundantly obvious was the classic naturallness and of instruments and immediacy of transients that is hallmark of class-a amplifiers; especially single ended tubed ones.


I would easily live with this amp and a pair of speakers that had modest power needs, such as the Tonian Labs DL1 [review upcoming] for a long time. I did not buy the review sample, since I already have a class-a amp that provides me with the positive aspects of the Vexo, but additionally has the capability of handling pretty much any speaker I have thrown at it so far. And the Vexo had nothing sonically that lured me away from my current setup.

[Vexo Hifi VXSE S.E.T.]

[Vexo Hifi VXSE S.E.T.]

Gear Manufacturer and Model
Digital Disc Players Denon DVD-3910 with Underwood mods (level2 + masterclock)
Pioneer 414
Sony DVP-NS755V
Phono Cartridge Goldring Elite(MC)
Audio Technica OC9 MLII(MC)

Turntable Technics/KAB SL1200 MkII, with tonearm damper
Phono stage Cambridge Audio 640P Azur
Integrated Amplifiers Cayin 265Ai
NAD 317
Speakers Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MkII
Triangle Electroacoustique Titus 202
NHT Superzero


ACI Force
Velodyne F1500R
Headphone Amplifier Practical Devices XM3
Headphone Sennheiser HD497
Connectors Various

Manufacturer's comment

With many thanks to Arvind Kohli for the detailed review of our amplifier with reference to both the sound and manufacturing level, I wish to point out the following remarks that would help better understand the equipment features:

All in all, I sincerely thank Arvind Kohli for the precious and supporting considerations about the driving and sound performance of our "baby" single ended tube amplifier. I think it has to be stressed that we're talking about our entry level product and more generally about an amplifier offering just 15 + 15 watts, with all the merits and inevitable limitations relevant to such a low wattage. It will be compulsory to resort to other equipment from our catalogue to improve some parameters, indeed. Last but not least, everything being pointed out in the review will be hold in due consideration, with a special attention to any criticism, which will put us to a hard job striving to fill in any possible gaps.
Giampaolo Contaldo – VEXO HiFi

© Copyright 2009 Arvind Kohli - www.tnt-audio.com

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