I will be able to let you know in less then a week, I previously had a VK-60 and have a VK-500(w/bat pak) on the way to me. The ole waiting game :)
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I used to have a vk200 driving Virgo's. Great combo. Excellent bass, good staging, smooth open top end. I then upgraded to a vk60. The vk60 was more open rich in the midrange, better depth, not quite as good on the extremes. The vk200 was deathly quiet. They are both good, but different. I liked the vk60 better. I'm more a of a tube fan.
I used to own a VK-500 with the BATPAK option. Lots of power reserve, but not much else.
I then purchased and sold a SimAudio moon W-5 which is far superior to the VK-500 in the way of detail, transient attacks, and even added a touch of sweetness.
Combine the articulation, speed, and sweet sound of the W-5 with the power of the VK-500, and you'd have quite an amp.
I would recommend you look at the W-5 or even the $1000 Odyssey Stratos which is rated by some as a step better than the W-5.
I have heard and seen a number of opinions that criticize the VK-500, but have seen or heard nothing negative concerning the VK-200. I personally have owned a VK-200 for about 2 years. Its a great amp that puts out a ton of power, operates mostly in class A (I measured the power draw at different volume settings, and it didn't change, and it runs quite hot), and sounds sweet, very extended top end and a ton of low end slam, nice detail as well. Here on the 'gon they are available cheap and I would highly recommend them. I am using with the SF Line 2 preamp (tube) and Vandersteen 2Ce speakers.
John- I wouldn't have done it if my speakers didn't need gobbs of power, I went from a pair of Avalons to a pair of Magnepans and the VK-60 just simply won't hack it. I would love to get a pair of Wolcotts, how ever right now I am saving for a new house and the VK-500 will work for now- tough decisions I have to make :) Though if it is obtainable I would strongly recommend trying tubes, I enjoyed them it was easy, I just need more power than most reasonibly priced tube amps offer.
I also own a VK200 with Virgos and this combo works very well. I am using a VK5i preamp and just sold my 3i which I mostly used with the VK200. This is a fantastic combo, very detailed, not harsh with great extension at both ends. The VTL 5.5 is a fine preamp, I own the VTL 2.5 but have never as yet match it with the VK200. Try a BAT preamp if you can, it may extend your enjoyment.
The VK-200 is a great amp, with open, extended, smooth highs, very sweet mids, and solid bass control with plenty of power. Great tonality, truthful to all instruments. Absolutely dead quiet, with no annoying transformer hum. I've owned mine for about two years, and now it's fed from the BAT VK-30 with NOS Valvo tubes. My golden eared audio buddy says its highs are the best he has heard, period. I tried twice to wreck the amp by connecting a bad XLR cable (open ground). What a frightening noise! The first time, only blew a rail fuse. Second time, took out the fuse and a resistor. BAT repaired in two days at fair price. Great sound, great design, great service. For the life of me, I can't imagine why people sell them, but they do, and a used one is a great bargain.
Just purchased a set of Audio Physic Tempo IIIi speakers which I auditioned for several hours with a VK-200 driven by a VK-3i. Was the best sound I have heard at the price point. Now that I have the speakers I will have to save my funds to get the VK-200 and then the preamp. Not sure which preamp, but the VK-200 is a given.
However, discussion with BAT resulted in the info that at least through S/N 274 there is a needed $500 upgrade of the bias circuit to drive difficult loads without spurious amp shutdown. I do know that S/N 371 did not need the upgrade, so am not sure at what S/N they made the change. But, the sound through the Tempos was second to none.