DK Design Group vs. Boulder

Has anyone here compared DK amps with Boulder amps? I am currently using the Wilson Watt Puppy 7s with the DK VS-1 Signature with great results but I have been thinking of switching to the Boulder 1050 monoblocks and the 1010 Preamp. Will this be a meaningful upgrade worth the extra costs? Or should I leave well enough alone?
I don't know about DK amps but I'm sure you can't go wrong with the Boulders. Try them if yo can...
Wow I can't comment on the sonics of either product but aren't the Boulders about almost 10 times the price of the DK? I mean I know price doesn't really matter but that's some jump! One could argue that it would be patently infair to compare the two. Whatever you do, in that price range make sure you get to take the gear home to audition! Happy listening!
High end audio is not about prices, it is about having the best possible audio reproduction. However, I do want to take into account the law of dimishing returns. If the Boulder set-up will sound only 5% better then its not worth a 10 times increase in cost, but if its like 20% better then I would go for it. The thing is, I have already heard equipment several times the price then the DK and have yet to hear something better.
All good stuff though its apparent spring-training batting practice pitches are swirling to their desired locations.Or when is a question not a question but.....let the games begin,its been quiet for too long I guess.Sorry for hijacking this curve my man.Adieu,Bob
with USblues on this one. If the DK is the best to your ears buy it. Don't look for much support however, especially with statements like, "The thing is, I have already heard equipment several times the price then the DK and have yet to hear something better."

Either another shill posting, or "operator error" in setup of a fine system. FYI any great or expensive (or both) component can be made to sound poor. The overall system sound is only as good as its weakest link. IE - Hook up that Boulder equipment with "tooth floss" wiring from Best Buy. That DK may sound like heaven.
Believe me, I am not hooking up high end equipment with wiring from Best Buy. Such a presumption is just silly. And accusing me of being a "shill" is ridiculous. I am looking to upgrade and want some meaningful comments and information from fellow audiophiles. I think anyone who has heard the DK integrated can appreciate where I am comming from.

Does an amplifier really have to cost as much as a new BMW or a Lexus to be trully great? And is it then impossible for one that does not, to also be great? Think about this for a second, the DK Signature is a $5000 integrated. Thats already extremely expensive. So why is my comment that it is better then more expensive gear elicit shill comments?

So please do not post here unless your comments are relevant. I want to hear from people who have actually compared the DK with Boulder.
The only person who can compare the Boulder to the DK and determine if it's better is you. Period. If a dealer won't let you borrow it (and for the price you'd be spending, he should), then bring your DK to the dealer's to do the comparison. To the extent there is a difference, you'll easily hear it on your speakers, but whether it's a 5%, 20% or 0% difference is entirely in your mind, no one else's.
Rcprince is right. With a piece that expensive, you should work through a dealer who will loan one to you. If you are planning on buying used, then you will have to pony up the $$, but you should not loose much if anything with a piece with the rep of Boulder if you decide its not for you.
I just spent the last few years of my life listening to every high end amplifier ever made. The list includes some custom made products that absolutely blew away the Boulder, but I've yet to hear anything that approaches the sonic purity, prodigious, yet agile bass, midrange voluptuousness or the fleshed out soundstage of the latest DK. And yes, I've compared it to amps costing multiples of the GNP of a small African nation. Tubes, solid state, chip amp, single ended, whatever, the DK is hands downs the sonic superior to them all.

In my opinion, the DK is the greatest advancement in audio reproduction in the last 30, no make that 40 years. When I'm an old man and nearing death, my great grand children will be by my side and they'll ask me, "Did you really hear the DK?", and I'll smile knowing that I had lived a full life and had once experienced perfection. Thank you DK!
You are not making sense. Everything could obviously be auditioned at the local showroom. Then I guess there would be no reason to have this forum? Why do people post anything on here? Might just tell everyone - just go and audition it.

Whats wrong with wanting some opinions?
Onhwy61, wow, thats really something
In my opinion, the DK is the greatest advancement in audio reproduction in the last 30, no make that 40 years. When I'm an old man and nearing death, my great grand children will be by my side and they'll ask me, "Did you really hear the DK?", and I'll smile knowing that I had lived a full life and had once experienced perfection. Thank you DK!
Onhwy61 (System | Threads | Answers)
There are a couple...maybe now three models of DK amps. Which one are you referring to?
Onhwy61, that's a good one.

As Jimi said at the Rainbow Fest in Diamondhead crater in 70,"Wave on"...Nice work 61...Bob
Oh. I get it.


On 2/1/06 you state in another thread:

02-01-06: Audioari1
I start successful high-end audio companies. I will not mention any names here as I would like to remain anonymous. At this time I only have an iPod. Previously, I owned a pair of Polk bookshelf speakers with a Technics receiver and CD player.

I guess you threw together a system using Wilson's and DK in 2 weeks time?? Why not use gear of those companies you helped start? Or is DK one of them?

Obviously you must see that I was being sarcastic in that thread. Would I be on Audiogon if I only owned an iPod? I really didn't think it required explanation.
Ok, you got me, I am Larry Staples. I am the new owner of DK. The DK Design Group Signature is a piece of crap. I have been manufacturing this piece as a "get rich quick scheme". It costs $10 to make in China and I sit here all day promoting it so that people will buy it. The truth is, even a JVC receiver is better.
I think the point, audioaril, is that for a piece that expensive, you should audition it at home with your gear. Not in a showroom. Only caveat is that I am assumming you are buying new. If you are buying used, then you will have to solicit opinions and/or pony up and take a chance.
IMO, if you have the funds buy the Boulders. It's one of the best audio gear you could ever buy. DK is not even in the same league... If Boulders doesn't sound well in your system, keep the Boulders and upgrade the other equipment.
For the record I have heard the DK Mk II coupled with some great gear, Usher Dancer 8871's, Esoteric DV-50, Aesthetix preamp (top of the line model - can't recall name) with very high end Synergistic Research cabling.

I still maintain my above position. May be "great" for 5K. IMHO, from what I have heard I don't find the DK worth it's asking price. I actually find it laughable there are so many new "members" that find it superior to proven names in the industry. I may not agree with the esoteric products pricing, however you are paying for the R&D that went into that product as well.

Anyhow, again IMHO there isn't a comparison.

Others have above stated, it is only your ears that matter however, and if you find audio nirvana with the DK congrats. I am not so sure professing it kills other well regarded amps will create any new beleivers.

Audioaril, why not post your system so the rest of us that may be a "bit" skeptical can get an idea of your associated gear.
Audiofankj, I'm intrigued that since the DK is an integrated amp, you heard it with an Aesthetix preamp. How was this possible? Can the DK's own preamp section be bypassed?
Yes, or at least I beleive so... as I controlled the volume to the Aesthetix via remote. I heard the system with just the DK as well as the Aesthetix just driving the amp section. With the Aesthetix driving the DK, it sounded much better. I don't recall the price of the Aesthetix preamp, however I am quite sure the preamp alone was almost twice the amount of the DK. The preamp was used for both cd and vinyl input...
Audiofankj, your memory is either very clouded or you have never heard the DK. First of all, the DK Mk. 2 is not $5K, it is $3K. The DK Signature is $5K.

Second of all, the Mk. 2 never had a feature that allows you to bypass the preamp section. So there is no way you could have heard it with the Aesthetix preamp.

Finally, don't forget that the Mk. 2 is long discontinued and has been replaced with the Mk. 3.
Perhaps it was a Mk 3. Who knows, they have a new model every other month... I will find out next time I am there. There was a preamp running just the amp section. Whether that is model 2, 3, 4, etc. I can't keep up or better yet just don't care to.
Oh- my memory slipped yet again Audioaril - I can't recall what you said the rest of your system was?
Kirk, I don't want to begin a debate here, but I'm really confused by your experience running a preamp into the DK as this is something I was certain was not possible. I downloaded the DK VS1 MK II Reference product manual, and there's no mention anywhere about bypassing the preamp section, nor are there "Pre-In" connectors. It'd be helpful if you could track down which model you heard with the Aesthetix preamp, and provide a link to more info if possible. Thanks.
Actually, Audiofankj, your memory is in fact so clouded that it wasn't even a DK Design Group amplifier you were listening to. You must have mistaken a Musical Fidelity amplifier for the DK, thats probably why you didn't think it souded very good. There is no model of the DK, whether its the Mk. 2, the Mk. 3, or the Signature that allows you to bypass the pre-amp section and not a single one of them has pre-amp inputs.
I didn't inspect the back of the amp... was definately a DK and it was in the "mode" with the two "digital renditions" of an analog meter on the front...

The only thing I can imagine in this case was the guy was running the preamp into one of the inputs? Which doesn't make much sense.

Tried calling this morning and no answer... will post once I speak with him and learn the configuration.

To be honest, the configuaration may not be correct - however it was a DK, with an Aesthetix preamp... sorry it isn't any easier for you Audioaril - how about that system of yours???
Thanks for checking, Kirk. Something doesn't add up. No fingers being pointed. Just curious for the answer.
Ok, so one thing is already clear. You were listening to a DK VS-1 Reference Mk. 2 that sold for $2995, it is the only model that had the digital meter on the front. All future models do not have a meter.

If you had the Aesthetix going into one of the inputs, this could have resulted in a sonic degradation as you are adding more components then necessary in the signal path.

So, Audiofankj, I take it that you think Boulder equipment is better?
Ok spoke with the gentleman today... it is a DK VS-1 Ref. Mk II...

I have heard his system with just his Esoteric DV-50 and both VPI super scoutmaster going into the DK alone... speakers were Usher Dancer 8871's. It was alright. It wasn't BAD, it wasn't GREAT. He liked it.

Since then, I have heard same system with the Aesthetix Callypso (I think) preamp. He confirmed tonight he is running the Aesthetix via balanced cable into the balance inputs on the DK. (So technically, I guess this would be going through two preamp sections???)... he swears it sounds MUCH better this way. When I heard it this way, not to my knowledge it was going through an input, I would have to agree - it did sound much better.

Did I do an A/B comparison? no. Was it weeks in between? Yep. Am I can expert? nope. Am I sure it sounded much better with teh Aesthetix? Yeah, it was not close.

Audioaril, you ask if I think Boulder equipment is better? I have no idea. Never owned one, never heard one. What I have seen is thread after thread on how the DK integrateds beat integrateds by known respectable manufacturers that retail for 3-8 times the cost (doesn't necessarily make them better) and these members swear the DK "kills" it.

I don't think so. Most of these members, like yourself explain no other parts of your system, and just expect us to believe the DK will just totally "blow away" a decent performer.

You may be selling to peeps here, but I for one, am not buying.
I guess then I should get a new pre-amp? Maybe running three pre-amps in series is even better?
I agree with you on that one, Audioaril - it makes absolutely no sense to me to run a preamp into the integrated. When I questioned him about it, he said the guys at Aesthetix said it would be fine as long as both preamp sections weren't turned up too loud...

I wouldn't imagine it would have made an improvement, nor did I have ANY idea he was running it into the aux input balanced. However, it did sound better to me. He swears it sounds much better and the phono section on the Aesthetix is very good, as I think he said the phono on the DK needs jumpers moved and leaves a lot to be desired... That is only hearsay, I haven't heard a comparison on the phono sections.
Damn,I better sell my DK-MK3 after garnering all this info on how bad it is although it does sound better than a Plinius 100MK3 and a ML-32 ref.My opinion only and thanks for the info.Bob
When I spoke to Daniel Khesin about my own DK MKII (alas, the DK amp is no longer with us, has gone to a happier home), he advised to use the standard inputs as opposed to the "balanced" inputs as they were installed as a convienence for people with only balanced available and not the best input configuration sonically for the DK. Iv'e heard other so-so "integrated" amps with a decent preamp going into the standard inputs with the volume turned up to 3 o'clock or max and they always sounded better, hhmmmmmm.
Regards to you all, Mike.