I got my VS-1 Mk.2 a few weeks ago. It sounds so amazing that I decided to splurge on some very exotic tubes. I bought a matched pair of Siemes CCA (the early 60's version) for $300/pr and a pair of the Mullard CV2492 for $160/pr from PartsConnexion.com. This is indeed a ridiculous amount of money to spend on tubes, but after having tried both I feel that it was worth every penny.
Here are my observations.
Siemens CCA: The bass, dynamics, resolution, and overall musical presence was elevated to an astonishing level in my system. In fact with the CCA tubes and this amp, I have never heard such bass or dynamics. The system takes on a certain kind of pace that I just get goosebumps running down my spine. Its like audio virtual reality. The CCA tubes make a dramatic imporvement in sound quality making this amp sound, well, better then any other amplifier I have ever heard before at any price.
Mullard CV2492: The Mullard had a completely different presentation that was an interesting contrast to the CCA tube. With the Mullard the sound took on a presentation that was very lush, warm and liquid. It was like the tube was really highlighting the midrange and placed a higher emphasis on things that happen in the midrange. This tube was really massaging my ears. For those who prefer a warmer, more laid back and sweet presentation should definitely go for this tube.
Overall, I could not believe what a difference these tubes made in this amplifier. To be honest, both tubes were equally as amazing, but if I had to choose, I prefered the musical excitement from the CCA.
I am using the Russian tubes which were used in the MIG fighter craft (6H23N-EB Vacuum Tube).
They holograph noticibly better than the original--and I do not consider soundstage changes for the better, to be ANY form of coloration, so long as it doesn't streeeetch the voices or instruments into larger versions of their normal sound.
The change is one of everything floating within its own acoustic space, in a more definite and interesting way, not phoney, but real sounding.
This DK is the real thing. I too am amazed at its quality. It is a steal at twice the asking price. I am so pleased to see a company (relatively new in this arena) do such a wonderful job.
It does sound, as the reviewer stated in one review, like the Gryphon Callisto, only better. How is it better?
When I owned the Callisto, I asked Fleming Rasmussen (the designer) about using a tube pre amp with his integrated, going through the pass through, hoping that I could achieve what DK has done.
What strikes me as interesting, is how much difference the tube rolling made with this integrated. When some companies talk about integrateds and how the pre stage is relatively unimportant (hence pass through pre amps) I always cringe. This integrated is REALLY open for all kinds of fun experimentation with tube changes.
One can easily 'tune' in the best sense, this piece, to sound perfect with his or her system by spending a few dollars on tubes. It has at least the same effect as changing an entire preamp!
Good listening, and for anyone new to the DK, it is one SERIOUS PIECE OF AUDIO GEAR!!!!
Larry R. Staples
Hello friends. I bought this amplifier in Argentina and I had it shipped down directly from the company. I was very skeptical at first and plus I was about to buy an all Krell system with Sonus Faber speakers from my local dealer. However, after speaking to Daniel Khesin (I believe he is the DK in DK Design Group, although he was very humble about it) at DK Design Group I felt like the guys there were passionate and were also extremely knowledgeable about audio in general.
Daniel Khesin generously offered to send the unit on a 30 day trial so I can evaluate it at home without risk. Getting the unit through customs was fairly easy, in fact DHL came straight to my door and simply collected the duties right at my door, so I did not have to go anywhere. I also ordered a pair of Amperex 6922 tubes from a website on the internet.
I have to say that I am simply amazed by the sound of this amplifier. I took the amplifier to my dealer in Buenos Aires and this amplifier sounded better driving Sonus Faber speakers then Krell monoblocks that cost about US $12,000. This dealer was very astonished by this and he also contacted DK Design Group about becoming a dealer.
I don’t know how to speak the Audiophile language but I can say that this amplifier just makes music come alive in your room like no other component I have ever heard. The ergonomics are also outstanding, as this amplifier has a very nice modern look. The build quality is also exceptional and this piece weighs almost 50 kg!
I believe I was one of the first to buy a DK amp, I own the MK I version ( I took a risk and purchased it for $1000 new on ebay and had it shipped from the USA to Spain when there was absolutely no info available on the internet - in fact, I think that the first post here on Audiogon was mine!) I am still happy several months later. I use the Siemens CCA tubes. I like the slightly more neutral sound that they provide as opposed to the lusher richer sound you get with other tubes.
As a follow up, last night I was listening to a wide variety of music on the DK unit.
This Integrated,(I almost feel blasphemous calling such a precision piece integrated, as if it somehow diminishes its performance)--makes music fun again.
It does not 'clarify' things...it does not give 'more slam' it does not give any of the prototypical audiophile descriptions of performance, it just works, and better than my list of well knowns, Krell, Mac, Ayre, AR, cj, (sorry Bill and Lew), et. al.
All bets are off. At $3K don't hesitate; it has the power in my thousands of cubic feet room to fill it with sound, and it's music.
Peter Cincotti, Rod Stewart, the movie D'Lovely, are all rendered wonderfully, and in a way I thought had been lost in some ways, with all the techno babble, and advancements, we're back to the basics. It just sounds right.
Good to know, mine should be here next week, I have some PW amperex e88cc's to try.
I replaced the Amperex 7308 us orange globe gold pin tubes I have been using with nos Siemens CCa 6922. The CCa tubes are as stated by many more before me, amazing. I hear a sweetness to vocals that makes me listen to many songs over and over. The bass is also incredible. I am still considering Amperex pinched waist down the road but for now enough audiophile madness. I am going to be spending my time listening and buying some new music instead of worrying about changing gear or tubes. Thanks to everyone as always.
Congrats, get off the gear changing, and get into the tunes. Enjoy to music.
Tube evaluation for DK Design from Jay of Audio Revelation a dealer for DK. This is the second time I've ever posted please go easy on me if you don't find this appropiate. I very rarely get here to read, just looking around and saw the question.
Note: I don’t sell tubes, this is just my listening experience. I’m not a tube expert by a long shot. Please don't ask me tube questions, I'm dumber than I look about tubes. I personally use Jim Sautter at Absolute tubes: firstname.lastname@example.org
The stock chinese tubes are pretty good, give them a 'C' as a reference point.
National 6922s ($80 cost me)
Overall a 'B'
very good, great clarity, a bit bright, not a lot of magic
Amperex 6DJ8 'D-' (cost $120) (Green boxed)
Cloudy maybe just a bad set
Telefunkin branded, but really Amperex 6DJ8s. (cost $125) But whatever they are it’s a 'A+'
Really nice, big full sound, ambient, impactful, dramatic, 'right sounding', lots of tube magic, clear and clean but not the greatest resolution but still plenty good, musical not hifi sound - (A friend found these to be too tuby and prefers the Westinghouse below – I can easily understand his preference and no doubt others would agree)
Westinghouse’s 6DJ8 made by Matsushita from 79 vintage 'B+' ($60 pr my cost)
bit leaner than above tele's better resolution, not as magical for me though. Very close to National but a bit more natural and listenable, just lacking that special tube magic
Westinghouse 6DJ8 made by Matsushita from 81-86 vintage 'A' ($60 pr my cost)
closer in sound to Tele's, dynamic, rich, very, very good, not as clear as 79' Westinghouse or Nationals but a really great way to go.
Good luck, Jay
I found the original Chinese tubes to be a bit "hard" sounding with transistor like "harshness", although all the frequencies are evenly presented. The Siemens 7308 (Upscale Audio, about $55 each, USA Phillips made?) have a more pleasant rolly-polly PRAT-ness to them but are not very resolving. Siemens CCa (later mid-seventies version, blue & orange box, Parts Conexion $120 each) are much more resolving but at expense of elevated upper mid-range which I find very objectionable- have not tried the preferred earlier blue-yellow box type yet. Am now using JJ E88cc which give a level/even/consistent presentation, not the most dynamic or resolving but a liveable compromise (About $18 each). Will try others as time goes by, good luck, Mike.
I am using the Amperex and they are virtually magic tsounding compared to the set which comes with them.
This amp sounds like the best of all that is good about electronics, sweet smooth, musical, without the overstated lushness,which accompany some tube gear.
Buy it and enjoy, as it will play everything from estats, to dynamics, at good volumes, great staging, and phenomenal bass response.
Try the Amperex Pinch Waist 6922 gold pins, USA or Holland from the 50's, or the Amperex Pinch Waist 6dj8 metal pins.
They sound GREAT, extended on treble, detailed, and beautiful mids, with mid bass, and bass to rock your world.
Rare, yes, expensive, yes, worth it, yes. JMHO, YES
Please help, I took the cover off of my new DK Design MKII to roll some tubes and I don't have a clue as how to remove the tubes. Help would be appreciated.
For Dhdoc: After removing top cover, note metal "rings" around
the tubes supported by two pins. The upper round tops of the pins are actually threaded nuts inside. Remove nuts by grasping with pliers and turn left to unscrew, then remove rings and spacers as needed for tube access...........I am now
using electro-harmonix ($20 each) tubes, are much smoother than the JJ E88cc mentioned above, on order for me now are electro-harmonix "gold pin" version which promises to approach
the higher frequency resolution of NOS...........any others out there using these??....Cheapmike