audio research vt 200 mk II vs the vt 200


HI, I AM NEW TO AUDIOGON, SO PLEASE BARE WITH ME.I RECENTLY PURCHASED A USED ARC REF 2 MKII. PREAMP. I AUDITIONED IT WITH A SET OF ARC REF 210'S. THE SOUND WAS FANTASTIC. WHEN I GOT HOME I INSERTED THE REF 2 MK II INTO IT,S NEW HOME ON MY AUDIO RACK. I TURNED THE SYSTEM ON TO HEAT UP BEFORE SETTLING INTO WHAT I THOUGHT WOULD BE MUSICAL BLISS ,BUT THE MAGIC WAS GONE. MY PRESENT AMP IS SOLID STATE .THE MARK LEVENSON 332.IT SOUNDS OK, BUT A SMALLER SOUND STAGE. ANY WAY, MY QUESTIONS ARE (1), WHICH AMP IS THE MOST RELIABLE, THE VT 200, OR THE VT 200 MK II. AND (2)HOW DOES THE REF 2 MK II, SOUND PAIRED WITH THESE AMPS. I WOULD LIKE TO RECAPTURE THAT SOUND I HEARD WHEN I AUDITIONED THE REF 2MK II . THE NEW ARC REF AMPS ARE NOT AN OPTION, DUE TO PRICE. PLEASE HELP !!
jion
Jim- Pls unlock your caps. It makes your post hard to read.
I am reporting my comparison on the VT100 MkI vs. the VT100 MkII (which is my preference of all the VT100 series). I assume my comments regarding the VT100 will be the same for the VT200 models.
The VT100 MkI is a wonderfully musical product. However, to me, it didn't have quite the extension, detail or air that the Vt100 MkII presents (and the bass was much tighter and deeper on the MkII model). The VT100 MkI sounds to me a little too thick, with transients sounding a bit too rounded.
When the MkII replaced the original VT100 it had:
1) the power supply of the VT100 MkII was double the reserve of the original VT100 MkI
2) an IEC connector for the power cord, thus allowing you to choose what power cord you wanted to use (you've got to hear these amps using a FIM / CRL 'Gold' power cord)
3) the VT100 MkIII went from a fully tube input stage to solid state input stage.
Again, in my opinion, the MkII is the best sounding of the VT100 models.
I hope this provides some insight for you.
That is exactly the type of feed back i need. Thankyou so much Louis1. NOW,if someone could share with me how the pairing of the Ref.2 MK II, and the vt 200 MK II OR VT 200 sound ,that would be great. DOES it sound bright ? How is the sound stage? etc.
Hi jion,
I'm still have a VT200 which is a great amp, i used it with an LS25MKII preamp and the match was fine (a lot of power, very dynamic, a lot of details, and a nice medium, the 25MKII provides a very open sound as well). The VT200 is a very reliable product, no issue since i had mine, i'm using KT88 and not the 6550c tubes. For the VT200 you need to be aware that the fan is little bit noisy. There is 3 positions for the fan speed, and mine is set on medium, so maybe the low position will be enough. When a said noisy, i just wanted to say the fan, the VT200 is absolutely noise free on the speakers. I listen a Ref2MKII, not at home but i guess it will be a great match. I upgrade my VT200 with VT150SE and i can tell you there are not on the same league, the VT150SE sound fantastic, the main difference is the VT150SE are sounding more liquid with a lot of air all around the instruments, the sound looks very easy, very natural. I recently upgrade my LS25MKII with Ref3 and the same result is observed between VT150SE and VT200.
However, i can tell you that the VT200 is an excellent product and for sure a good choice. Sorry i cannot comment on the VT200MKII , i've never listen to it. MKII uses 6H30 in driver vs 6922 for the VT200, i don't know if it makes a big difference or not.
Laurent
Hi Laurent, thanks for your response.I won't go near a Ref 3, because after all the positive feed back Ive read on it,I know , if I gave it a listen, the farm would be in jeopardy. But in the mean time , I believe that maybe ,what the JFET'S, and 6H30 tube combo did for the LS 25 MKII, AND THE Ref 2 MKII's sound ,may very well have trickeled down to the VT 200MK II, OR VISE VERSA.After considering what LOUIS, had to say about the VT 100 MK II, and your input on the VT 200 ,My choice would sway toward the VT200. BECAUSE I NEED THE 200 WATTS To drive My Vandersteen 3A'S. Does any one out there in Audiogon land, have any comments on the ARC VT 200 MK II, pro or con?? Mean while I'LL continue to listen to THE solid state AMP.A good amp, but ( no magic) sounds cold, and thin at the top. I can only spend the money once. I'LL be waiting!! Thanks again for your time, and response. All the best,
The comparison of the VT100 mk1 to the mk2 is not really a valid comparison. The real comparison would be a mk2 to a mk3, due to the similar circuitry of a VT200 mk2 to a VT100 mk3. Both these amps use jfet inputs, 6H30 tubes, and do not involve biasing the input tubes. The original VT200 is similar in design to the VT100 mk2, using 6922's, with a fairly complex bias process. I have owned the VT100 mk 2 and 3, and a VT 200 (original version), and now a Ref 110. In the VT 100's, I found the mk3 to more detailed, much easier to operate regarding bias setting, and generally a better amp. The original VT200 tromps them both very soundly with a HUGE soundstage, and limitless power. I would be happy with that, but the Vt200 mk2 would again be simpler, trouble free really regarding bias setting, and I am sure would sound spectacular. For the prices some are asking for them, they are a tremendous bargain, both the mk1 and 2. There is a mk1 available now here for $2650 or so. Not much could touch it at that price. I would recommend confirming ARC tubes are in the unit. I have tried retubing from tube sellers with very bad results, which had me sending in my amp for repair to ARC, not cheap for shipment.
I have listened to lots of ARC amps and preamps; in my opinion the VT200 is one of the all-time best values in ARCs amp history. At $3k or less for a unit in 8 or 9 condition it is a great amp. The VT200 has authoritative low end - deep and tight; it has open and airy midrange and highs; great definition throughout but not analytic; it has excellent imaging. I can't say for sure, but I bet it is more musical than the VT200 MkII. If you buy a VT200 for 3k or less in good shape you should be able to get virtually all of your investment back if you don't like it, but it would be hard to imagine not enjoying how this amp sounds. It is heavy and will put out some heat and it will take up some space - it ships in a very manageable carton - but hopefully you won't have to ship it anywhere too often. If you can manage the size, heat, etc. you will like the VT200, I predict.
I have a VT 200 MkII and cannot fault it other than the heat it produces (only a problem in the summer in SoCal) and the aforementioned cooling fan noise if you sit within 10 feet of it (I have not tried switching it to low speed either). It is an incredible amp. On hand I have an extensively modified McCormack DNA-1 modified by the builder himself and a pair of Manley 300B/SE/PP monoblocks so I can compare it to some pretty good sounding gear. The fan is not at all intrusive, but in a very quiet listening room, you will hear it between tracks.

The MkII is a "faster" amp than the MkI sounding cleaner and affording more detail because of it. There is better attack and cleaner transients. The cost of upgrading a MkI to a MkII is pretty steep and costs alot more than the price difference between the two amps on the used market.
Hi,thanks to all my AUDIOGON responders.Thanks to Dbarger, for the clarification of model # in the comparisons between the VT100 series, and the VT200 series. HI_hifi, thanks for your vote of confidence in the vt200. Sjsanders,Thankyou, for your first hand knowledge and feedback on the VT200 MKII. I have a question.
Does the VT200 MKII sound bright in any way due to jfets
used at the front end, or is it smooth sounding , due to
the out put tubes? Thanks again, for the much needed feed back.
JION
I am not bothered by brightness in my system except on certain poorly recorded CDs, but associated components obviously have a great affect on this especially your source components. It certainly doesn't sound warm and fat either, but if you equate smooth with musical, then yes. I am a big fan of this amp's "sound." It is probably more neutral than the other components in the chain, a Hovland HP-100 and JM Labs Mezzo Utopia speakers. It probably sounds more like my modified McCormack, but with greater bass authority and midrange transparency, than it does to the 300B Manley run with minimal or no negative feedback dialed in which is has punchy bass and a definite tubey midrange quality which is killer on vocals. I would think of the AR as a pretty neutral amp with gobs of power and still very musical.
Hi to all. I recently purchased a ARC VT 200 MKII .Sjsanders described it perfectly. For me it's a perfect match for the ARC REF 2 MK II pre amp.I have listened to
cd via MARK LEVINSON 39 player. No poorly recorded cds allowed. THE MUSIC SOUNDS REAL, the speakers just dissapear.I can almost reach out and touch Patrica Barber's piano. ( I HEARD IT ON NPR HDCD )
For me this is the best.
THANKS to all who took the time to respond.
All the best