Who is the king of Tube amplification between these two brands?
Performance, Product line or breadth, Dealers, Direct, Customer Service, ?????????

Very subjective question.

I called VTL once to get some information on one of their used amps for sale and they denied it was in their database and refused to give me any info on the amplifier.  Any one here had poor customer service from VTL? 
Any lovers for VAC gear? I called them once and they owner/designer answered the phone and was very informative and nice. 
Customer service from VTL is an oxy moron, they do sound better than AR to my ears though. Enjoy the music
As you're only comparing two brands, then one can only say which is better. (Best applies with a minimum of three.)

That said, there are at least half a dozen brands of tube amplification better than the two named.  And that's a modest estimate.
Both are okay arc tends to sound more solid state like with vtl really depends on the model

We would recomend zesto unbreakable sound and incredibile customer service also very reliable

Were placed a set of 40k cj art amplifier with a 20j set of zesto Eros the zestos sounded nearly as good for half the price


zesto dealers
No companies that just started up and may be out of business in 2 years. ARC, VTL, VAC have been around a long time. 
Zesto Audio started up in 2010, so not a start up. Have you listened to either VTL or ARC?
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Never said anything bad about VAC ever. Wanted feedback on this thread on which brand is preferred.  VTL or Audio research.  I was impressed with Kevin Hayes when I spoke to him on the phone. Wouldn't hesitate in buying a VAC product. 
Gotta be careful with those VAC's.
I hear they make Lyra cartridges sound bright, thin and shrill.
“ Never said anything bad about VAC ever. Wanted feedback on this thread on which brand is preferred. VTL or Audio research. I was impressed with Kevin Hayes when I spoke to him on the phone. Wouldn't hesitate in buying a VAC product”

FFS why bother mentioning ARC at all....Why not just talk about your impressions of VAC!!!

Take a break from lobbing shite grenades around... 
Jeffy, having the winning ticket for Wednesday's Powerball drawing, that would be lucky.

For now I feel quite fortunate with the performance Im getting from my Lyra Kleos.

As far as a Shure cartridge from the 70's, let me guess, moving magnet?

Now your starting to sound like someone else around here.
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So the insults have begun. A little earlier than in most Vegas Boy threads, but not unexpected for sure.

Thanks for reminding us just who you are.

I own all ARC for amplification, a Ref 6 and Ref 150 SE. I have sent many an email to ARC that went unanswered. The few times they did respond, it was weeks later and terse. The sound is amazing and they have been rock reliable. That keeps me seated. For now. 
My phono stage is a Manley Steelhead. Manley is amazing. Ask a question and a long considered response comes within 48 hours. Sometimes within 24 hours. 
And another legend in customer service is Luxman. Jeffrey of Luxman USA is a pure class act. I own a Luxman 750u headphone amp. 
I may sell my ARC gear and buy Luxman or Manley. They are THAT much better at basic humanism. Do wish Manley's flagship amps looked less art-deco though. 
They are both long established brands but i would say audio research before the founder left twenty years ago would be the best choice but now it is a toss up for sure, but both are great companies and i can say that audio research offers upgrades and service for all their tube gear from any generation.
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Jeff which one of your experiences with Lyra are we talking about?

The one where they are JUNK shrill bright ect.
The one where the Lyra Delos sounds amazing!

Hard to follow the way you flip flop on things. Not that your posts are anything to follow, more of a comic relief.

Sad part is some folks who like to be helpful around here actually still take your "posts" seriously.

Including one Mr Johnathan Carr

BTW did you ever get around to apologizing to him for having your little fit because "you" couldnt get a cartridge to sound the way you wanted it to not because there was something wrong with the design or the catridge itself?

Eh...Don't matter, he has shown himself to be a stand up individual who goes the extra mile to help those who were willing to give his design a go.

Im sure he will be around for the next discussion to see how he can contribute.

Unfortunately, there is no "king". It all depends on all your associated gear, room and preferences.

I’ve never owned an AR amp, only a pre. I have owned the MB-125 (first gen) and absolutely loved those monos. Sold them, missed them a few years later, and bought the first gen MB-185.

AR customer service was fantastic. 
i got a solid three paragraphs from Jonathan Carr on ideas to improve my Delos. My ARC Ref5se just crossed 5k trouble free listening hours…magic… And ARC answers the phone….

Most probably order a Etna - Lambda next week for the SOTA in the reference system.

Audio full of good people

Now IF Oyaide….WTF
I try avoiding these conversations but both of these companies have crap service and the ARC GS150 I tried was not that great and for the asking price a flat out ripoff.  I had MB185 signatures long ago that couldn’t maintain bias so I moved on from them.  Asking which brand is better is a loaded question especially for these forums that seem to bring out the nasties from some of us on these forums.  Brands like VAC, Quick Silver and a few other offer some really good values on the used side for high power tube amplifiers.
William Zane Johnson invented the modern tube amplifier and started a company called Audio Research. I have owned 3 ARC power amplifiers including 250SE monoblocks and 160M monoblocks. Audio Research has been extremely responsible and have even repaired out of warranty used amplifiers for me free-of-charge. 

If you have a good relationship with an ARC dealer, you can get great deals on demo models at a substantial discount. It is indicative of the groupthink on social media in which folks believe that every company has to cater to their every whim.  All of these niche companies are very small, so do not expect instant, on-demand customer service like you would get from Amazon or McIntosh.

In terms of sound, it depends on your system. I have tried McIntosh, VTL, VAC and CJ tube amps in my system and none of them sound as good as ARC tube amps. My system has an Esoteric K-01XD source, Luxman CL1000 preamplifier, and Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speakers. I think that ARC power amps work well with Wilson Audio speakers.

I think the OP posed a somewhat limited question. Are you trying to decide between buying one or the other? There are many great tube amplifiers, and there is no absolute answer to your question.
I think the OP posed a somewhat limited question.

The sad part is you taking it seriously. 
Bought my ARC LS15 and VAC amp back in 1995 and they are still going strong
Only service was cap upgrade on the LS15 
and just replaced the tubes in both just recently 
I had some experiences with both ARC and VTL entry amps 30 years or more ago. My system was ARC LS2, Adcom 555II, Luxman D-105u and Definitive Tech BP20 and Disco and electronic also my preference beside jazz.

ARC dealer let me take the classic 60 for home audition with no deposit needed since I visit that store often and got to know folks there. VTL needed me to purchase the Stingray but said I can return if I am not satisfy for any reason. 

The first generation Stingray looked cool and VTL is not for from my house. David Manley was cool and took time to explain on his VTL amp. I was very impressed with VTL top end tube gears but the Stingray sounded too solid state and harsh on the top end in my system. It was not very present exchange when I returned the Stingray. To but it mildly, it was unprofessional and I have not think of buying any VTL amp even now even VTL sounded more tube like than ARC tube amp. VTL has more classic tube sound and ARC is more detail and analytical but not harsh nor unpleasant on both of their higher end tube gears back then.

The Classic 60 was good but it didn't satisfy my need for Disco type of music.

I still own the LS2, changed the 6922 a couple times. Some statics when I turn on the volume up but the trick of put unit in mute and rotate the volume knob solve that issue. I would need to do that every few months.
I've owned VTL product for 20 years and have had nothing but Top Notch service from them. 
I have always liked the AR chassis. Cool and solid.

About Lyra cartridges, I feel very fortunate to have an Atlas SL.
Unbelievable upgrade from my Myajima Shalabi.
For sonic performance, every experience I’ve had is that VTL blows ARC out of the water. One of the top 3 systems I’ve ever heard was fully powered by VTL into Stenheim Alumine 5 at the Chicago show a couple years ago. Redefined what HiFi could be (but mostly a result of those speakers tbh). 
The questions wasn't about service, it was about which was the best.

That totally depends on system, room, and what equipment you are comparing.

Are you comparing a 50 wpc amp vs a 100 wpc or 200 wpc or 300 wpc amp?  A $2k pre-amp vs a $30 k pre-amp?  

I've noticed on these type of posts, without specific information regarding equipment it is a "I want to bash on a company" issue, not a clean, fair comparison between equipment.

Also, if a comparison isn't in the same system, swapping only that piece and doing an A/B comparison, it really isn't fair.  Hearing a piece in your system and then hearing another piece in an altogether different system and saying you hear marked differences, such that one claims that the original piece is crap is just that.....crap.  because you are hearing not only the completely different system, you are probably hearing at a totally different volume level, in a different room, etc.  totally, not apples to apples.

So, to answer the question.  I have heard some outstanding VTL equipment.  I have also heard some outstanding Audio Research equipment.  VTL does not make crap equipment.  quite the opposite. they make some outstanding equipment.  Same is true for Audio Research.

I can name some other companies that also make outstanding equipment.

So, what are we talking about here?  What piece are you desiring?  pre-amp?  Then what is the price point?  That is where you start in your drive to compare.

Amp?  What is the power level desired?  What speaker loads do you want to drive?  Efficient or not efficient speakers?  Difficult loads, and lastly, what is your price point?

Please be more specific in your desire for comparisons.

I have had zero trouble with my Audio Research equipment, with regards to service and communication with either Audio Research itself or with the authorized Audio Research service center near me.  non whatsoever.   so be careful when you hear from some people.  They just may not like a particular company and like to troll or bash companies.

I do know a few people that have top VTL equipment and although they say the equipment is great, they do complain about customer service.  But, this is entirely second hand for me.  

First criteria is, 1) price point, 2) how does that particular piece sound in my system vs my original piece, 3) where can I get it properly serviced?

Don't take anyone's word for it.  Hear for yourself in your system.

I would look at Manley and Atmosphere for moderate pricing as well as value.
VAC is the most sought after US company I think. The owner is a 2nd generation
hail fellow well met person who exudes credibility. 
You want great sound, reliability,  and great customer service?   Quicksilver Audio make great sounding no frills gear .....   
Quicksilver is midfi. Not knocking it. Well made and has a huge following.  But Quicksilver gear sounds like grandpa's old tube amp. 
I am strating to realize that VAC is the king of tube amplification. Solid customer service, great sound, great build quality, and very sought after.  VTL died when David Manley died or sold it to his son Luke. Horrible customer service with VTL.  ARC, is like the McIntosh of tube amps, big name but just ok sound. 
Well well JeffVegas. You answered your own question.  Which is neither ARC or VTL.

I personally feel there is NO company, tube, solid state or hybrid that is KING over the others.  Each has their own idiosyncrasies. Good or bad. Sometimes good and bad.  Even in between their own models!
I feel the same for turntables, cables, cartridges, speakers, tweaks... 
Every person seeks their own personal sound of their system.  King, Queen, Princes and Princesses.  Royalty in Your their listening room.
Quicksilver is midfi. Not knocking it. Well made and has a huge following. But Quicksilver gear sounds like grandpa's old tube amp.

So this is how you NOT knock something?

Makes sense when you consider the source.......
Vac preamps offer remote thats not fully functional. Disappointing.

VTL cust service is not so good.  Dont work well with distributors i hear. Not many carry vtl.  Higher end preamp, series III woefully overpriced at $30k.