I have the same dilemma.What is this DK?
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I have just purchased one of the models on e bay though it hasn´t arrived yet. Theres no info because the model has only been out for a couple of weeks! I spoke to the company and they say its fantastic obviously! but they are very helpful and will readily recommend what works well with the kit.´On that basis they will be good to deal with. The advertised recomended retail price on e-bay is correct and it does look the business!
It looks like the first magazine review just came out and many of the larger magazines are all preparing to do reviews. From what I understand, there were some advance models that were sold on ebay during the testing stages. If you were lucky enough to get one, you may have gotten the best deal ever. From the reviews and current buzz on these products, it appears that the current retail price of $3000 won't last for long. It seems that the amp outpeforms amps several times its price. And with this quality, it appears that design is equally their specialty as can be seen on their site (www.dkdesigngroup.com) and by the sounds of their company name.
Here is an excerpt from two magazine reviews I just read
“The DK Design VS-1 MK 2 is an incredible piece of gear. It is the best integrated amplifier I have heard. It is not only the best integrated amp, but the best preamp and best amplifier as well. That's a strong statement, but I stand by it. The VS-1 MK 2 does everything very, very well, but best of all are the rich dynamics that make every recording come alive. As the review period came to an end, I was as in awe of the VS-1 MK 2 as I was the first time I heard it. I'm putting my money where my mouth is and buying the review sample. My advice to all of you, no matter how big your budget, is to find a dealer near you and give the VS-1 MK 2 a listen. I would also advise you to hurry. When DK Design realizes that the VS-1 MK 2 should cost $6000, not $2995, they might just raise the price! In the meantime, I'm going to be enjoying mine.” Magazine Review published in Ed Morawski
To see this full review online, visit this URL:
Positive Feedback Magazine Review by David Clark
“this is one killer product at the price! No make that one killer product at any reasonable price—the integrated easily competes against products at several times its price… In comparison to my amp and preamp combo (Clayton M100 and Blue Circle BC3000—around $13k combined) things are a bit too close (tonally and overall musically) making me squirm a bit. That is replacing the Clayton/BC combo with the integrated resulted in no significant drop-off either musically, tonally, or harmonically. It was hard to tell the two set-ups apart, they sounded too darn similar—music simply filled the room. The integrated came across as being tonally neutral and clean—no added crap or deviations from what we feel is audible accuracy, as heard here. As such, harmonically and tonally the integrated seemed to be quite right it its voicing. Not too rich, not too lean, just right. The frequencies were well extended with very good delineation of instruments occupying either end of the scale…In the time we had the unit, it worked without a hitch, offered no extraneous sounds, and was a beauty to see. What we have here is the proverbial giant killer.” Dave Clark
It sounds like if you can get one at $3000 right now, it is a deal. From what I understand, this $3000 price is an introductory price and may not last for long.
I have heard the same things from customers as this review states. It sounds better than amps several times the price and has a design that speaks for itself.
Blue Diamond Audio in Nevada carries the line, as well as integrateds by Mark Levinson, Musical Fidelity (the Nu Vista and KW 500, and Rowland (Concerto). They adamantly claim this new DK design STOMPS ALL OVER THEM, and is the amp driving their marquee speakers in the main showroom.
It's a hybrid design with 6922 pre-drivers and a push-pull class A power amp that apparently stays in class A all the way to 150W - nice space heater for the winter!
I noticed these on Ebay a couple of months ago. I checked the past auctions and came to a conclusion. The person on ebay selling the items did some serious shill bidding.It was so bad at some points.. the same ghost bidder bid 21 times in one auction LOL.His magic number was always $900.00. It was so obvious I completely lost interest. He used three ghost bidders frequently. Too bad... people like this hurt a company's reputation.
Regarding the VS-1 integrated, here's an excerpt of an email I received from the dealer:
"In terms of clarity, let me say that it is the most amazing amplifier in this regard. It just sounds amazing, and it is hard for me to hide my enthusiasm. We have several other integrated amps like the Levinson and the MF Nu-Vista and kW500, and also the Jeff Rowland Conbcerto and the VS-1 Mk.2 sounds better then all those amps. You are asking if the tubes limit clarity, well the VS-1 Mk.2 has more clarity then the Levinson or the Rowland amps and those are pure solid state designs. Also, the VS-1 Mk.2 has much better bass than those amps. Especially with classical music when you listen to very complex passages, the other amps tend to compress a little bit, you don't realize that they compress until you hook up the VS-1 Mk.2. With the DK amp for example when the music starts to grow louder, it grows louder with the music than the other amps even though you have not touched the volume control. This quality of the amp just gives you goosebumps when you listen to it. The music sounds really effortless and extremely detailed without any electronic edge or glare whatsoever."
I just recieved a VS1 MKII today, and let me first say
I have never ever ever!!! heard a better amp in my life!
How they did it I do not know. But even stone cold BN,
it is in a total different class than my Spectron digtal
amp & EE Mini Max combo.
From the iron fist bass to the unbelievable transparent
midrange & airy delicate highs, it is just amazing.
I will update further as it breaks in. But I can tell you
I have owned a lot of amps & pre amps so I know what I
am hearing. A winner of biblical proportions!
And btw...imaging & soundstage are unreal.
Your gonna love it!! Even regular tv sounds so much better!
The dynamics are incredible and it is so darn musical.
I hate to rant on, but it is truly something special.
One bummer (easy to fix) is it does not fit all the way
into my rack. My rack is exactly 9 1/4" and it has a lip
at the front of the amp that sticks up about 1/32 to high.
:o)Oh well it will have to stick out for a little while.
It's a monster of an amp.
I am using a Audio Note CD 2.1x cdp & Hyperion HPS 938's,
Shunyata & Michael Wolff pc's, & WireWorld silver ic's.
Let me know when you get yours & what you think.
I was lucky enough to get their VS-1 version (exactly the same as the VS-2 but slightly different in appearance ogf the front face-plate only) and their HT-1 (their home theater/multi-channel integrated amp) at the great intro/test price a few months ago. I have talked to Les at dkdesignsgroup and they are extremely helpful in suggestions of which components/cables to use.
Happy I got them when I did. Personally, I prefer there initial more clean/suttle faceplates than the current one.
Actually, the VS-1 and the VS-1 Mk. 2 are quite different electrically from what I got from DK Design Group. It is not just a different looking faceplate. The VS-1 Mk. 2 uses better quality transformers, higher quality transistors, better wire, and there have been several capacitor changes on the circuit board among many other modifications. Also, I think that the new VS-1 MK. 2 has a much cooler and much more futuristic look to it.
Cover On Backwards?
For something people spent a lot of time on, I can't help but think that the cover in all the advertising and pictures is on BACKWARDS. Think about it, the vent holes are over the transformers, rather than the hot tubes. Is it just me or is the amp really like this? I mean I'd want to vent the tubes if I had one.
See pics here:
The top cover is a thick aluminum panel with four holes near the front over the power transformers. Under the cover is an identically sized black mesh screen. You can remove the cover altogether and use just the screen, which lets you see the tubes glowing in their cages near the back of the amp. It also provides better ventilation, although that's clearly unnecessary as the amp runs very cool.
Yep, I find Blue Diamond Audio a pretty suspicious outfit.
They claim to sell all kinds of high end gear (Levinson, B&W speakers, Krell, McIntosh, ARC etc), but are NOT listed as a dealer on any of those manufacturers sites! When you call them, they will tell you that the VS-1 smokes all this other high end gear that they sell. Hmmmmmmm.
A lookup on Whois shows that Blue Diamond Audio uses the exact same webserver as DKDesignGroup.com Hmmmmmmmm.
Blue Diamond Nevada itself has a population of 282 people.
Anyone care to check what actually lies at 912 Village Lane in Blue Diamond Nevada?
Of course it all may be legit.
According to this, it's Blue Diamond Elementary School.
Then you might want to ask, who is D1575?
I always have to wonder when seeing a post about something I've never heard of by someone who hasn't posted before, or very little.
I purchased my DK VS-1 Reference MK II integrated amp. from audiorevelation.com (Jay is owner). No shipping charges, bonus package of some Cardas IC & stuff. Sounds pretty good, added 7308 tubes ($50 Upscale Audio each) have ordered CCa, tubes brought unit into easy "Class A" territory, added Analysis Plus power cord which was more than a subtle change in all aspects. Not sure about phono pre section yet but am sure it is more than just ok-good-serviceable. Previous amp was Audion 300b, very nice but no oooommmphhh, so far enjoy this more, best wishes, cheapmike.
The company is very real. I am now a dealer for their products and am rather impatiently awaiting arrival of stock of their integrated amplifier. I have a number of folks here in the Raleigh, NC area who are in line to take the amp for a demo swing in their systems.... I can tell you more about the sound very soon....
Boa2: I traded in the small Zingali studio monitor speakers, my MK I Silver Knight and Audion latest model phono pre on Zingali Overture II speakers, not here yet. The Silver Knight did not quite have enough power to rock the small Zingalis'. The phono pre I never really bonded with, it sounded good at dealers (Deets) compared to lesser Audio Note but had, to me, PRAT changes with different records. My intention was to replace Zingali with the substantially better Overture and better resolution of Audion MKII. Got side-tracked with the DK VS-1. (Overture sensitivity 93 db compared to 89 db of monitor). As it turns out, my old phono (Technics SL10 with very ho-hum Grado black) works very-very good with DK built-in phono section! I do not feel competent to review more formally phono due to limited quality input and my temporary use of old home-made speakers that have limited resolving abilities (waiting for Zingalis'to arrive).
My Music: "world" music, some popular, non-progressive jazz, vocals, no classical (due to lack of good quality sound on them, need to buy some better stuff).
Your La Scalas would seem to be good Audion match, best wishes, Mike.
There is a tremendous amount of hype surrounding this amp, with many new dealers touting it as the holy grail. In addition, there is a recent slew of new A'gon members who rave about the product as well. I'm curious as to what you owners of the DK have owned (amplifier-wise) before discovering this 'audio nirvana'.
Thanks to a generous hosting by Cheapmike, I was able to hear the DK yesterday. I will reserve my comments until I am able to listen to it in my system.
By the way, knowing that Vegas is already full-up reserved, Cheapmike and his significant other invited me to share their hotel room at CES this year. Don't know if I can make it, but I have to say that I am constantly overwhelmed by the generosity and camaraderie of this community. I only met them yesterday!
All the best,
Not only is there a ton of hype about this product but there is no mention of reliability. Has any current owners has any problems? Do we know 6 months to a year from now if these are still going to be operating. If not do we know about there service and warranity? This maybe a great product but I would like a longer track record of the company and the product. By the way I will be interested in this product but I guess spending at least $3,000 I need a longer track record than a few months. Remember you are not just buying a product you also buying into the company.
Responding to Boa2's inquiry, I have the DK Design VS-1 MKII amp and before I sold them, had a chance to compare it directly to a CAT Ultimate MKII preamp alternatively feeding a pair of Cary 280 MB V12i monoblocks or a pair of Levinson 20.6 monoblocks. I sold off that equipment and kept the DK amp. The amp I was most using before the the DK were the Cary monoblocks. Before "settling" on those monoblocks, I bought, listened to, and sold a whole slew of amplifiers, including the 600w FPB Krells, the best Quicksilver monoblocks, the Cary stereo version on a single chassis at half the power, an Audio Research big tube amp, and a few others I don't recall offhand. (My memory is blocked from having to lift some of this really heavy stuff and from packing and unpacking it.) Don't worry. The DK Design VS-1 MKII is a seriously good amp worth much more than it costs. (I speak to the line stage only, and have not tried the phono stage) Also, I cannot speak to long term reliability. Finally, the Siemens CCa's make the amp sound very neutral. Believe me, it is a very good amp and a tremendous value.
Hmmmm... Well, at least you ("Kimballcorson") have some history here at the 'Gon, (unlike a lot of other somewhat suspicious 1st time posters who also just happen to be "new" members.)
I have to admit to still being a little skeptical of the DK Design amp. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure its a darn nice pc. o' gear, but I just don't see what possible "wiz-bang-whoo-ville" engineering is going on inside this thing that would account for it being SO good.
I mean at least with some of the new digital stuff (Tri-path, ICE modules, etc.) one is hopeful that there just MIGHT be something there, inside, that could create a sonic revelation. But again, the DK Design, at least as far as I can tell, doesn't break any new engineering ground.
I once owned a similar amp (Llano Trinity) which had the same basic "hybrid" design and layout, same rolling of the driver tubes (sans preamp section), and while it was a great amp, I'm not sure it would have "killed" a set of Cary V12's, or Levinson 20.6's.
I can see where some of the frustration is coming form both at this thread and at others relating to DK Design though, as we all get a little tired of reading & hearing about "the best _____ on earth!" "Absolutely KILLS all comers'!!" Etc., etc. The problem is, it might just BE the best, to THAT particular person or reviewer, but what basis of comparison does any of us REALLY have? Example, I wish anyone (ESPECIALLY "pro reviewers") who pen a product review would state the following criteria:
1.) What other products have they actually OWNED in the stated category.
2.) How long have they been reviewing
3.) What are ALL of the other components, speakers, tweaks, hair gel, etc. used in conjunction with the piece in review.
I personally think No. 1, above, is especially important, as many times I read a "professional" reviewer RAVING on something, only to discover that this guy has listed as his own system, something like "home built 2-way loudspeakers", "1985 Rotel CD player", "1977 Pioneer SX1980 receiver", etc. (OK , maybe the last two were slight exaggerations, but you get my drift). Lots of times these so called "reviewers" don't even have components as high caliber as many of us! Unless you've reviewed EVERY SINGLE AMP on the face of the friggin' earth, how can ANYBODY make such drastic claims??
Well, I guess it all come down to the fact that DK Design is offering a 30 day trial from their dealers, so... I guess I'll just have to put up & shut up and try one for myself (but I must confess, my Halo JC-1's aren't even the LEAST bit nervous though... we'll see ;)
I share your same concerns. I have requested both through this forum as well as privately for people to give me a brief list of their listening preferences, as well as other amps that they have had in the past. Thus far, I've received no responses.
The turn around time between getting a new product, falling in and out of love with it, and ultimately posting it up for sale, is usually 3-6 months. It will be interesting to see what happens as people own this product over time--or how many actually do choose to hang onto it for an extended period.
It comes out of the chute with tremendous hype, so consequently the expectations of a seasoned audio community are (and should be) quite high. On my first listen, I was not ready to trade in my Audio Aero Prima hybrid for one, but I also did not hear it at home, on our system. Therefore, it was certainly not a fair A/B comparison.
Interesting conversation, for sure...
I suggested in the other more recent thread posted by DK himself that he send a few samples to some of the "seasoned veterans" who could review it, send it back and then comment on it here on the Gon. It wouldn't be me, but I'm sure that AlbertPorter or numerous others might be willing to give it a try.
Then...pending the outcome...all the high praise the DK has *supposedly been getting might carry a little weight.
I'd like to provide a few comments, if I may...
1) We are a dealer for numerous products, including the DK Design Group integrated being discussed here. We obviously have a lot of bias. However:
2) I, as the owner of our company, picked up the DK Design Group line without ever hearing the amplifier in question. I went solely on the conversations I had with other dealers who had heard the amplifier and the opinions of owners whose ears I trusted. I plunked down my hard earned cash to bring in stock of the units so that I could hear the darn thing for myself.
3) In the past 15 years I have owned or spent EXTENSIVE review time in my own system, with my own gear, amplifiers from the following manufacturers: Krell, Levinson, Pass Labs, Plinius, Threshold, Forte, Llano, Monarchy Audio, Bryston, Classe, Sim Audio, B&K Components, ATI, Adcom, Bel Canto Design, Spectron, EAD, Butler Audio, Musical Fidelity, Linn, Opera Audio, Hafler, Carver Professional, Carver, Audio Research, Cary Audio, Belles, McCormack, Arragon, Acurus, YBA, Dynaco, and so many more I can't recall at the moment.... For each manufacturer listed, I have often had 2, 3, 4, or more models of their amplifiers over the years. I have also designed and built ~40 different vacuum tube amplifier designs over the years, ranging from 300B to push pull pentodes, to 211 and 845 amps.
I have owned more speakers than I care to recall. I have also designed and built at least 100 different speaker designs of my own, from line arrays and simple 2 ways, to extreme high efficiency designs. We now sell Von Scweikert Audio, Usher Audio, Phase Technology and other brands. I've been to the shows and heard the insanely priced signature pieces from a lot of manufacturers.
I know what sounds good to me, what sounds real to me. I'm not someone who has spent their life listening to a boombox and this is their first expensive electronics purchase. I have participated in a great deal of blind test sessions, spent more time than I care to remember listening to various gear with friends, listening to hundreds of different systems over the years with equipment from even more manufacturers than I can remember. I try as best I can not to get caught up in the hype of the new hot product of the week. I don't bull$*T and if I think something sounds like crap, I will say that it sounds like crap to anyone who cares to know my opinion.
4) The DK Design integrated amplifier lives up to the hype a lot better than other products I have previously seen touted. I have now spent some time with the integrated. It is nowhere near broken in yet as I only received my stock last Friday. However, it is a very, very, very good sounding integrated amplifier that is a value at its price point. The stock tubes need to be replaced as they seriously hold back the performance capabilities of the amplifier. It's a product that I believe is worth its asking price compared to what else I have heard at a similar price point.
5) Almost all dealers that are advertising the product, be it here on Audiogon (I fall into this category), or in a local environment are offering a money back guarantee on this product. One of the things that came up on the DK thread that is now closed kind of raised my ire a bit and I wanted to address it here:
\\\BEGIN COPIED TEXT
originally posted by Ellery911
I have a B.S. in Economics but will stay away from a political discussion and keep it on topic.
Lets say I wanted to listen to this amp judge for myself...I guess I could order one from one of the online retailers as I don't have any retailers near me...and I understand that there is some sort of guarantee...but when I read the fine print regarding returns on one site...a DK dealer...this is what I saw...verbatim
The final determination of what is "saleable" and "complete" condition is at our sole discretion. Returned items failing to meet these conditions may be subject to a higher return fee, they may be returned to you at your expense, or they may not be returned to you at all.
Not returned to me at all?
Now I REALLY want to rush out & buy one.
///END COPIED TEXT
First of all, that is a direct quote from my website. However, it is not the complete quote concerning determination of condition (it's missing the sentence "Please do not try to return any item that you have damaged, scratched, has lost pieces or manuals, mutilated packaging or has otherwise been turned into junk. Please check with us before you return items of uncertain condition."), nor is it the complete story on how returns are handled for individual items. It is taken completely out of context. Please read the policy in its entirety at http://www.hometheaterdoc.com/terms.html and don't take things out of context. If you have some concern over the policy, contact me for a clarification instead of posting it to start some sort of flame at the manufacturer.
We take great pride in going way above and beyond what other local dealers will do to service our customers. As an audiophile, I understand that there is no substitute for being able to try a piece of gear within your own system to see if the unit is right for you and if there is synergy with the other components in the chain. That is why for customers in our area we have gone out of our way to allow extensive in home audition periods of our demo gear. On a case by case basis, we have faaaaaar exceed our stated policies to allow a potential client adequate time to evaluate the piece. We do in-home demonstations, and deliver demo gear to the client for their evaluation (which in the case of large speakers is a really big pain in the derriere). However, we're not funded by philanthropic billionaires who afford us endless funding to send out brand new, sealed components to anyone who asks for them to try out for 6 months and return them for a full refund when they decide to move onto another component. Oh and let's not forget that they want that component for $10 over dealer cost to begin with....
One final point and I'll stop hijacking this thread... Many online vendors sell a tremendous amount of different products, all of which sell at various price points, all at varying degrees of profitability, be it $20 digital interconnects to $30,000 3 chip DLP projectors. At some point there has to be an overall policy for returns which common sense should tell the purchaser would be open to interpretation on a case by case basis. If you buy a $20 digital cable, "accidentally" cut it open and then seemingly get it caught in the garbage disposal, don't expect a full refund on that product. Nor should you expect that the product will be returned to you free of charge if the retailer doesn't have any means to charge you for the shipping to return the completely worthless item back to you (because you paid via money order, etc. instead of credit card).... trust me, this happens.... The policy is put in place to protect the retailer from being bombarded by folks buying something, smashing it, and then trying to take it back for a refund as if nothing was wrong. It's also trying to protect from having someone buy a $12K projector, put 300 hours on the bulb to see if they like it, then return it and expect a full refund so they can buy it from someone else.... If that piece was sold for only a couple hundred bucks over dealer cost, the dealer obviously can't sell it as new, and certainly can't make a profit on the piece given the discounted pricing for new pieces....
As for the DK Design Group piece, it is such a good component, and dealers are so confident that TRUE buyers will love it, that they are offering 30 day money back guarantees with no restocking fees. All you are out is the cost of shipping to try the unit for 30 days in your own system. They're so confident it won't come back they are sometimes sending out new, sealed units instead of a demo piece. At some point, some risk has to be taken on by the customer. If you have a local dealer, they will more than likely allow you to try out the amp in your system. If you don't have a local dealer, it's going to cost you a few bucks in shipping to try it out. Given what some of us spend on our electronics, that's about as risk free an opportunity you can have to try out a new piece of equipment. You certainly don't get that opportunity with every other manufacturer's product. It's certainly better than having to buy new sound unheard, try it out and then have to lose your shirt selling it here to the scavengers on audiogon :)
Anyways, long story short.... it's a very good amplifier and worth its asking price. In my opinion, after hearing the amplifier, they've earned the right to use over the top marketing hyperbole to describe how good they are.... it's certainly more deserving than a lot of other companies I've had experience with.....
I appreciate the candor you offered on the DK Design amp. It was simply shameful the way some members gang-tackled Mr. Khesin. There are a few prima donnas here who just love to hear themselves talk. Mr. Khesin found out very quickly why very few manufacturers will participate here.
Thanks for the feedback and I hope we can hear more reasonable discussion about the "sound" (without the extraneous crap) of this amp in the future.