DK Design VS-1 versus 300b sound

There has been a lot of discussion about the merits of the DK Design VS-1 MKII. I am curious about how lovers of the seductive sound of 300b tubes have felt when listening to this amplifier and whether this amp truly can bring together the bass slam of solid state with the warmth and musicality of the 300b.
hehe, looks like another shill post. Wasn't the inside rear cover of Stereophile enough?
300B....hehe, good one.
Sounds like it could be a fair question if asked in a more general sense: whether solid state at its best can provide a "best of both worlds" or whether we'll still have to use highly efficient speakers and low powered tube amps to get that "SET magic".

Perhaps the reason this question seemed like a shill to you is that it was so focused on DK amps instead of solid state amps more generally? That does seem a bit odd...... Hmmmm. Why would someone who has this interest be focused solely on whether DK's solid state amp offers SET quality sound.

Nothing shill about this. I have a small taste of the 300b sound from a Ming Da amp with 300b and 805 tubes. It sounded quite good to my ears, but has been a PITA with respect to reliability. I've read a lot of Audiogoners who have replaced tube separates with the DK Design and I recently auditioned the amp. I was very impressed with the amp, but in the set up I heard it didn't have quite the seductive sound I had heard from the 300b's. I would like the best of all worlds. Just wondering what more experienced listeners have found.
Interesting. Oddly enuf I read these pages every day and I've notice no evidence of "a lot of Audiogoners who have replaced their tube seperates with the DK design". I have noticed a dealer or two who sez his customers did. I'm sure not tempted from anything I've read about it yet and I understand that I'm to ignore dealers, or want to be dealers, puffery. I'll be impressed when known tub-o-philes in this forum say they have switched over.

I think that what might have tempted some one to refer to your thread as a "shill post" is that many of the DK raves in this forum have come from 1st time posters. This is usually indicative of shill posting.
this looks like it's gonna be another one of those "long time audiogoners" vs. "brand new posters" where all of the latter rush to the defense of DK design.

what ever happened to the 3 test samples that were going to be sent to long time audiogon members for review? why have we heard no more about who the three will be?
It sounds like you answered your own question: you demo'ed the VS-1
yourself and while you liked some of its qualities it did not impress you with a
classic "seductive" 300b character. To get that you'll probably
have to go with a tube amp, most likely a SET. Then you may lose some slam,
it depends on the design. Trust your own ears.
Who has replaced tube separates with the DK design? I'd sure be interested to hear their experiences. I seem to have missed this as well.
WEll I am admittedly a newbie that hasn't posted on Audiogon before, although I have posted several times at that other forum. Anyway, You can see that I have been a member for about a year, well before the Dk Design came out. Of course, the way some folk like to accuse you for just asking a question makes me understand why it took me so long to post after lurking around for a while.

Anyway, a quick perusal of Audiogon forum turned up a few previous tube owners who bought the Dk Design,which was the basis of my comments. I'm sure there are more but I don't have time right now to comb the forum. Here are some:

However I do find it rather amusing that we have to have 'experts' tell us what our ears should be telling for oursleves. Don't we trust our own judgement?
I for one sold my Audio Research SP16 and VS55 for the VS1.
Why? Because it sounds better. To my ears. And that's what really matters.

I replaced the VTL amp and pre-amp with the DK VS-1 Mk. 2. The difference in sound quality was shocking. The DK amp retained the harmonic purity and the dimensionality of the VTL combo except it added thrilling dynamics, much better bass, incredible pacing, rythm, and speed. Overall, it took my system to a new level of performance. It is also the only amp that I have had in my system that does not seem to have any flaws. It is an absolute sonic marvel and I highly encourage any serious audiophile to check it out.

I replaced a Sonic Frontiers Power 2 (Svetlana KT-88's, Jan Philips 6922's) with the VS.1 MKII and find the midrange is not too much different from that of the SF amp, VTL amps, and other large contemporary design push pull tube amps. The bass is definitely better. The treble is some of the least fatiguing I have heard with a solid state power amp. The soundstage dimensionality is good -comparable to the SF but not quite as good as my 300B and 2A3 SET amps. My Maggie 3.6's, which sound harsh with some solid state amps are very happy with this one. I'm using Tungsram E88CC's in the preamp section.

The second one had only an email address not an Audigon name, so some might think that is a shill. I don't know.
Anyway, that is the basis of my simple statement and question.
BTW, I haven't sung the praises or advocated for the dk design at all. I just asked a question
What brand of speakers do you have, Hchilcoat?

A pair of speakers built by a local speaker builder (Joe Berky) in Baltimore. They consist of separate monitor and subwoofer cabs. Monitors have an MTM design with a ScanSpeak Revelator tweeter between 2 Audax 5.25 inch carbon fiber midranges. Bass cabs have a single Scanspeak 8 inch driver. Hovland caps and alphacore inductors in the crossovers, about 89-90 db.

I bought a pair of ProAc 2.5's over Audiogon last year. UPS gorillas appeared to have dropped them from about 10 feet. Took them to Joe Berky at SoundProjects to see about repairing them, but ended up returning them to the seller. In the process I got to know joe and was impressed with his speakers.
Hchilcoat,you are correct there is not anything in your posts that amounts to shilling.Seems some here need better recall. Larry.
We have a custom 300b interstage coupled amp that makes about 7 watts and we have no lack of bass "slam" when coupled with the lovely pair of Samadhi Acoustics Natalias speakers (94db, 4ohm). SPL is higher than we care to use with rock/jazz fusion; voices are incredible. And Phil's bass on the Dead live tapes is quite authoritative.

The push/pull 300b class A interstage coupled amp we are building right now will have even more. So, no; a hybrid type amp is unnecessary and the sound of the 300b is great.

Buy something that is quality made and you don't have reliability problems. Some of that Chinese stuff is real garbage; looks pretty but the insides are lousy.
i to am curious as to what happened to the offer for 3 members to demo the amp as a matter of fact i cant even find the thread that started all this.

i too am finding the questions lately about the amazing dk design group products to be a little on the strange side to say the least.

for what its worth there's a big difference in"leaping to a guys defense" & saying that when a guy comes straight in without the cover of an alter screen name he should be talked to better than a shill.


Dear friends,

The 3 Audiogon members have already been selected and will be announced on the Audiogon homepage later today (Jan. 25th). This will put the product into the hands of very experienced audiophiles and respected Audiogon members. This will result in some very exciting and unbiased reviews.

Stay tuned…

Daniel Khesin
Tel 646-485-0754
Fax 646-219-2572
Out of curiousity I am bidding on an amp for sale.
But I won't go too high without any other feedback.
The restocking fee is pretty steep it amounts to 500$ to try the amp out. So I'm suspicious.

I dunno, I talked to 3 audiogon members who I trust who have and OWN this amp, AND love it. So, I bought one, I will receive this friday. I was told Danial shipped it to me on Monday. I will keep you guys posted. I have just sold a pair of Wavelength Cardinal X1's, so I am really in tune to the 300b sound. I wanted to try this baby with my pinch waist 6922's from the 50's.
Thanks for digging up those references to the folks who switched from tube amps to DK amp. I actually did read those when they first appeared and I totally forgot about them.
Loontoon, what amp are you bidding on?
Shill ! ; - )
Art, who ya calling a shill?
I was the first to post any info about DK as forafistfullofdolars. I assume that as I was a newbie to Audiogon I am possibly referred to a one of the shill posters. I can assure you that I am not. I own the MK1 DK amp. I live in Spain! I am certain Daniel could have found people closer to home to send the amp to. It cost me $500 to ship from the USA to here!
I still stand by what I said originally. Even in the MK1 guise, it is an amazingly good amp at the price. The fact that I only paid $927 on ebay for mine makes a huge bargain. Add $180 for money well spent on CCA tubes which improved the sound by at least 10%.

I was more than happy to post my thoughts on the amplifier, particularly as Daniel Khesin was happy to give me advice and information even though I was intending to purchase my amp from an ebay seller and not from his company or one of his distributors. His subsequent advice with system selection was spot on and I have him to thank for the pair of Speaker Art super clefs that now proudly stand in my listening room as well as the recommendation of Siemens CCA which improved the sound by at least 10%, making them a great upgrade at $180.00!
Daniel also advised me that for the small improvement in sound quality of the MK2 over the Mk1, it was not worth me going to the extra expense.

I know from the numerous e mail responses that I received asking about the DK amp after my original post, that there are several happy DK owners out there who can back up the claims.

I would have loved to have been one of the three selected to review the MK2, as I am curious to know how much of an improvement there really is over the MK1, particularly as there was no way I would have returned the amp from Spain to the USA!! He he...

The Audiogon member reviewers are being announced today and I look forward to reading their comments


intersting choice of who was selected to test the DK - two guys with SS gear, and one with an integrated tube amp.

Since everyone and their grandmother is claiming this integrated beats their separate tubed gear, and more importantly, that's the only way it could be used by someone with tubed separates - I was dissapointed this unit didn't make it into the hands of a tubeophile with separates.

Of course it is going to impress the SS owners - how could it not.....???? makes you go hmmmmmmm.
Artg, once again, I am VERY impartial, and tell it like it is. I use high end tube eq, and horn speakers(presently) I will have the amp by Friday. I am sick of all the crap around here on products with silly claims. But, in saying this, when I decide to find the best for the money, I put my $$$$ where my mouth is. I will know within a couple weeks, just how good this unit is. BTW I did own the highly touted Pathos Classic one that Sam Tellig rated class A, I thought it sucked, and sold it in a couple days. I sure hope the DK is not the same. I feel more confidant as I said, 3 people I have TT who's ears I trust, have praised this puppy. The question is, will I?
Sorry that I was not clear - perhaps a poor attempt at humor. I thought those were some real useful and meaningful posts regarding DK - not shill at all - and I was making fun of some people's knee-jerk reaction (including my own at first) that if someone praises the DK stuff they must be a shill.

Usually the smiling face :-) means "I'm kidding".

what makes me go hmmmmm is how come other high end manufacturers have not come forward & let some of the membership here test their products,you know they cruise this site & AA to see what people are sayin about their gear & at the very least to check resale values on their gear.

i'd like to see people like krell,levinson,mcintosh,cary & others submit some of their gear for an unbiased & unpaid demo instead of makin us read all about it stereophile.

i think were gonna get the best & most UNBIASED review that has ever been done on a peice of equipment.

i personally think this is a pretty balsy move on dk's part but im quite sure some of the complainers will find fault in it in some way.
I'm also one of DK's three testers. I used to own Conrad Johnson Premier 12's, with preamps CJ 17LS or First Sound Deluxe mk II, so I do have a strong taste - I think - of high quality tube gear.

SET vs DK is to me to be the missing element. I've been meaning for some time to get some SET amplification in my house, and now might be a good time because it could go head to head with the DK.

By the way, I included in my writeup for DK, but it was not presented, that I plan to schlep the DK over to my friends house for testing on his system. It's a very high resolution system - Rowland monoblocks (the new model) and First Sound Deluxe mk II into Thiel 2.4's. So I think this will be quite a battle, even that it's not tube amplification. In particular, the First Sound has black background with explosive clarity that I've not heard matched by other preamps.

I am very open to suggestions regarding my testing of the DK.

I seem to have missed the announcement of the three testers. Who are the other two besides Artmaltman?
I think the established manufacturers are just trying to please the original owners. AudiogoN caters to second hand owners and demo gear. Established manufacturers don't need to cater to this group. For new manufacturers looking to climb into the market, this is a good move. It's similar to advertising, generating underground (AudiogoN, AA) support.

I'd also like to know who on AudiogoN is testing the units.
" I'd also like to know who on AudiogoN is testing the units"

Me to, was it posted somewere?

Go to Audiogons homepage and go to the bottom of the page, or Click here.
Link to reviewers:

or go to the main Audiogon page and hit the link at the bottom center of the page.
Thanks guys.


Dear friends,

We purchased the most expensive spot on Audiogon to anounce the 3 reviewers - the bottom of the Audiogon homepage. I am surprised many people are not seeing this. We will try to anounce this in other sections of Audiogon as well. Thanks.

Daniel Khesin
Tel 646-485-0754
Fax 646-219-2572
Thanks for the info.

Hey Dave, they should have picked you. I'd be interested in how the DK drives them Apogee's, (laugh my evil laugh). Can it hang with a Krell monster?

Art A. - I like you idea of extended listening in various environments, with plenty of contenders on hand. I won the First Sound Presence Deluxe MK II you mentioned - and a Berning ZH270, connected to Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage's via Stereovox IC/speaker cables.

I would LOVE to hear that thing in my system. Anyway, make the rounds....

We're countin on you for integrity and brutal honesty! Art G.

Funny you said that. A guy e-mailed me the other day asking my opinion on a VGC pair of Duetta Sig's he had found.

Anyway, I find this morning in my e-mail a thank you for the help...he bought them and has them setup and playing beautiful music! You'll never guess what he is driving them with...Yep!

He says their a little harder to drive than his Maggies but the amp has no problem and sounds wonderful.

These DK Design guys are serious! They are obviously very confident. I enjoyed reading about the three reviewers and their histories in audio (and otherwise). I'm sure there are many people here with interesting audio stories to tell. Each system page should have a bio section. Could this be a new way of marketing; the Audiogoner Review?
I will be interested in reading the reviews from 3 senior Audigon members who have much more audio experience than I ever will. I have never seen so many people enthusiastically doubt anything. I have had it in my system for about 2 months now and already know how I feel about it. I do understand the doubt as nearly every review I read in TAS and Stereophile would have the reader believe they need to upgrade with each review. The reviews here will be without any paid advertisements at stake which should shed some light on things.
im skeptical. i reember when people all said the Marsh was THE BOMB, that man others were going to be out of business - and well, what happened there is history.....
Hey Artg, remember Sam's Radio Shack Optimus CD-3400? How about the Bel Canto EVO 2? Melos SHA-1? The list is endless.

People love a giant killer! It's all flavour of the month.
yeah. that's not to say it isnt a good product - i bet it is, in fact i am sure it is..... but anytime you read such hyperbloic language, you should take pause.
It is interesting that when someone posts a question involving a DK Design amp, they are jumped on as a shill for DK Design, even when they say nothing touting the virtues of the product. If my thread had been "Plinius 9200 versus 300b sound" I don't think I would have been accused of being a shill for Plinius. Out of 40+ responses to this thread only a few had anything to do with the topic.

As far as I know there is no diabolical marketing scheme by DK to send out legions of shills to take over the audiophile market. However, if you hook up a white noise generator to your DK VS-1 MKII and stare at the wall, you can actually hear Daniel Khesin's voice describing his plans to take control of the world....

COme on guys, don't forget to take your medication!
If the topic weren't so comical, you may get more serious responses.

C'mon, seriously, a hybrid integrated sounding like a 300B tube amp? If that happens, one of the two units is broken.

For your next thread how about:

Paradigm Studio 100 v3 versus Magnepan MG-20.1 sound.

No knock on Paradigm, good speaker, nice value in it's price range, but you can't compare the sound of dynamic drivers with planars.

A more obvious comparison you could have used would be comparing a D&K with a Counterpoint amp, as both are hybrid designs.

It's uneducated threads like your's that make medications necessary.
Jmcgrogan2,first you call Hchilcoat a shill,now that it is clear he is not one you attack his thread.If the thread is beneath you do not post,after all you and the rest of the shill police are the ones the keep the DK threads current
I'm sorry some of us mortals are uneducated Jmcgrogan2.If you read the thread hchilcoat posted he's just looking for info on the DK.If you think the thread is so beneath you why not go on to something that's not.I personally don't own a DK or know Hchilcoat but have been interested in the DK in case there is a chance it might be a great product.I thought that maybe some of the educated could help ME!Can't we stay positive. Kevin

Dear Hchilcoat,

Actually, you forgot to mention that if you invert the polarity by rewiring the unit inside and then rub the glass while keeping your finger firmly planted in the tube socket and say “Abracadabra”, a secret compartment will open up on the rear of the unit and contain the keys to great treasure left over by the Duke of Norfolk and then passed on to the King of England. The Portland Vase can then be used to damp all unwanted vibrations inside the listening room. Don’t forget to pass this on. Thanks.

Daniel Khesin
Jmcgrogan, I never posted anything about the Paradigm or Magnepan speakers. So I just have one stupid naive post.
daniel,man was that rich! HA........HA........HA.
Hchilcoat,I also received a lot of flack about my thread to the point where I received spam email.My thread was directed
to other DK owners. In my case it's been a great upgrade.
Just remember hearing is believing. I also have no connection to DK Design other than I am a very happy customer.