Audio Research VT 100 MKIII


How does this amp compared to ARC amps that followed? Is the amp worth much on the used market? How was it's reliability?
sksos1
I have been through a number of ARC amps over the years, such as the VS 110, VS-115 and now, the Ref 150. I never owned the VT 100 Mk III, but for some reason I recall reading that some said the VS-115 sounded better. In fact, some folks, some of whom may have been ARC dealers, wrote that the VS-115 was about 85% to 90% as good as the Ref 110.

So, I suggest that you consider the VS-115, an amp that I owned for many years and thoroughly enjoyed. Having said that, I also suggest that you call Kal, ARC's customer service rep. Kal knows the ARC line very well and he could give you a fair assessment.

Another consideration may (??) be that the VT 100 Mk III was introduced in the Fall of 2001 and discontinued in 2006. I am not suggesting that a preowned VT 100 Mk III is at the end of its useful life, but a unit you pick up may need a freshening up (e.g., new caps and so forth). That is certainly something Kal can speak to.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Btw, amp/speaker matching is important. What speakers are you using?
Mine sounded OK, but it did blow up.

The VT100 mk3 is not a bad amp. I owned a mk3 for a few years. I never had any problems with it other then a tube blew a resistor once, not a big deal. I bought it used from my ARC dealer because I needed to send my V70 back to ARC. My plan was to probably keep the VT100 and sell the V70. I never could and I ended up keeping both amps. The VT100 was more detailed but sounded a bit thin next to the V70. It also lacked much of the midrange magic of the V70.

I now own a Ref 110 which is much better than either the V70 or VT100. The Ref 110 is far more detailed then the VT100 with the midrange magic the V70 had. And KT120 tubes make this amp even better.

If I were looking for an ARC amp right now I would strongly consider the Ref 110. The price of this amp has really dropped, especially right now with the introduction of the SE amps. KT120 tubes are a drop in replacement and really adds to the sound. ARC advises against using the KT120 tube in the VT100.
"Is the amp worth much on the used market? How was it's reliability?"

I've seen several VT-100's list here on AG at pretty reasonable prices. You may want to consider a Mk1 or 2. I'm not a big fan of the 6h30's myself, and you may find that you like the older version better.
The ARC VT100 Mk1 and Mk2 can be a bear to re-tube the small signal tubes. It's not for the novice.

http://mycollins.net/audio/artube1.html
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I understand the MKIII is a LOT simpler to bias, anyone have how the MKIII gets biased?
Sksos1,

http://www.drhifi.net.au/Reviews/ARC%20VT100%20Mk.III%20Review/1.htm
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I have owned the mklll since 2001 and it has not given me one problem. 100 percent reliable. I have retubed the amp 3 times and tubes have gone up about 30 percent since I have owned the piece. I think I have spent about 2300.00 on maintenance and that was just changing tubes and having them biased from a professional. That breaks down to less than 200 a year in maintenance cost. Pretty cheap considering the amount of tubes it uses.
"03-21-15: Sksos1
I understand the MKIII is a LOT simpler to bias, anyone have how the MKIII gets biased?"

If I remember correctly, the Vt-100 has one bias adjuster for each channel. That means you set the bias for all the tubes in a channel at the same time. You make 2 bias adjustments instead of 8.
Unless it absolutely has to be an ARC, I would get a Music Reference RM200 instead. Better design, better build.
I haven't heard a word about Music Reference in years. Is the guy still around?
Taters,

What speakers do you use with your VT-100?
Dynaudio C-1
Those are very nice. I had ProAc 2.5's on mine.
I have never heard the Proac speakers but a lot of people like them. I tried to like the Harbeth speakers but they never seem to be dynamic to me. The Dyn's aren't perfect but they are very good. And the dynamics you get from such small speakers is Incredible.