Audio Research VS110, VS115?

I am in the process of putting together a two channel system consisting of a seperate tube power amp and tube preamp. As I once owned (years ago), an Audio Research D70MKII and thought it sounded great, I am considering purchasing the company's VS110 or VS115. While I have read several great reviews on the VT100MKIII, the thought of getting shocked while biasing this amp leaves me "more than shy".
Has anyone heard the VS110, 115? How do they compare with the VT100MKIII?
From what little I have read about Audio Research's VS amps they seem to be a departure from your typical "tube warmth" sound. Is this indeed the case?

The VS110 and VT100 are out of production, so if you want a new amp then the VS115 is the way to go. I have owned the VT100 amps and listened to the VS110. Imo, going from the VT100 series to the VS110 would be a major step down and backwards. The VS110 is only single ended whereas the VT100 and the VS115 are balanced designs. The VT series sounds awesome! I plan to get a VS115, but have not listened yet, but I think and hope that it will preform as well as the VT100. The VS115, imo, really is the VT100mk3 but with an open design instead of being put into a box. I think they did this to avoid overheating issues. I did not ever overheat a VT100, but I can see where people would try to put them in a rack and overheat them.
I am interested too. I have the lower power vs55 and have heard the vs60 in my system and can't tell them apart.

6550c what do you find are the major similarities and differences between the two VS amps?

I've also had a ref 110 in the mix for week now so I am jaded for sure.

The VS110 may sound good too, but the VT100 has more of everything. More detail, more tigher focused bass, deeper bass, more midrange bloom,more subtal nuances to notes, more quite space between the actual music notes etc, more soundstage. It takes me quite a while to really notice these things. I need to listen to allot of recordings to really hear and notice. It takes a while to really get to know the sonic signature of gear. I need to live with it for a while and try different speakers, cables etc.
Adrian, I currently own a D70 Mk2 and your memory of your old amp is accurate.
In fact, with current gear this amp is IMHO still very close to SOTA. I have actually AB'ed the D70 ( Ok I did roll in some NOS tubes) against a VT 100Mk3 and our group all preferred the D70 that night! The VT has more power and can drive the speakers a little easier in the bottom end, BUT that is were the superiority ends... The D70 Mk2 has one of the best midrange reproduction and ability to portray air and space of any amp that we have had in my system, easily outpacing the VT 100Mk3 that night!!
In fact one of my 'phile friends is selling his VT 100Mk2 to replace it with a D70 Mk2.
Amazingly, another 'phile friend who owns the Ref110,and who raves about that amp, likes the D70 Mk2 enough that he is planning on using one as a swap out with his Ref 110 on certain music!
So, since you can acquire a D70Mk2 at a give away price right now, you might want to re-acquaint yourself with an old friend.
Many kind thanks to my fellow audiophiles on Audiogon and your very helpful submissions!(6550C, Bjesien, and Daveyf)

Once again, thank you for all the great insight you provided!

If I were to once again, purchase a D70, how difficult is it, not to mention risky, to bias this amplifier.

You see, the D70MKII I bought years ago, from a friend, had the bias performed on it just prior to me aquiring it. The friend I purchased it from told me as much. He also stated that with average use it would not need to be biased again for quite a while as the tubes were fairly new.

Long story short, I regrettably ended up selling the amp before it needed this sort of attention. This aspect of it I no doubt, found "somewhat intimidating", to say the least. This, in a large way, was probably responsible for its sale.

Please respond,

Many thanks,

Adrian, That's a very good question about the biasing of the D70..
Frankly, this is perhaps the only real drawback to the amp. The procedure is NOT for the faint of heart..:0(
I just re-tubed my D70 with rolled in tubes and there was NO way I was going to do the biasing myself. According to the ARC manual it is a procedure that any 'phile can do....BS!! Who ever wrote and thought that at ARC back then,must have been smoking something!! Nonetheless, once my tech had the amp biased, it hasn't wavered since and the sound is to die for. Luckily, i have a couple of very good tech's near me; if that isn't the case for you, then perhaps an auto-biasing ARC amp would be more appropriate. (Although, I think that the sound of these is inferior)
Assuming that you are putting a system together from scratch, you ought to tell us what speakers you intend to use, what your source(s) will be, and what type of sound you have liked or disliked in the past.
That said, I would suggest you call ARC and talk to Calvin. Even though some of the amps you are considering are out of production, you will get honest and knowledgeable advice. I can tell you that the VS115 is going to sound a bit more "authoritative" and extended at both frequency extremes than the VS110, but also a bit more solid-state like (or neutral). The VS110 goes for less than half the price of a used VS115. If you do get a VS110, invest $300 or so for an octet of SED6550s and 6N1P-EBs and bias it down from 65 to 55mv. I had the tech at ARC confirm this is the way to go.
Hi Daveyf and Fsonicsmith,

Thank you so very much for your useful information!

Daveyf, once putting new tubes into the D70 and having it biased, how long, on average, will the amp once again require biasing?


Adrian, That is a very difficult question to answer... it probably depends to some extent on the quality of your tubes and the amount of turn on/turn off's that the tube cycles. Also, possibly there is a factor of how much ventilation etc. that the tube sees. In my case, I have had no drift of the bias setting after a couple of hundred hours, but i couldn't tell you how long that will last for.
I think that a more appropriate question would be how much is the typical re-biasing cost for a tech to do the work once the bias has floated or new tubes need to be inserted. That answer probably depends greatly on who is doing the work and again I would suggest asking questions of a nearby tech if you have access to one.