Problems with VAC Avatar

I have been considering purchaseing a used VAC Avatar in standard or SE form. The reviews look good although I have not heard one. My concern is about its reliability. I have owned tube amps in the past and know that one can expect to tinker with them from time to time. Tubes are Tubes after all. It seems that the Avatar has issues though. I believe more than one has stoped functioning in the reviewers hands and it seems like there might be a week point or two from the design being pushed to its limits. I hope I am wrong and that all the Avatar owners and past owners can clear this up for me with feedback as to how there own Avatars held out over time.

Thanks for your interest.

Caveat: I have my Avatar up for sale now, but intend to stick w/ VAC gear. The only problem I have heard from was in connection with the Stereophile review. But, I believe that review was done at high altitude (when they were still in N.M.). Plus, there is one way that you might damage the Avatar if not careful: unlike some other tube integrateds, the Avatar is not switchable from triode to UL or back when powered up. In fact, this was the first thing my dealer warned me of when I purchased, and also mentioned in the instructions. If you switched it while powered up, it is possible you might damage it. (I have read that there is supposedly some sonic advantage to designing it this way.) Don't know if that is what happened w/ Stereophile, but I've discussed the Avatar w/ other owners on the audio boards for several years and not heard of another one failing.

I would suggest you call VAC. They are super people and their service and knowledge is second to none. Ask them questions and you will get honest and pointed responses. Great products.
If you check the threads, you'll see that VAC is frequently mentioned as being among the very, very best when it comes to build quality, and perhaps without equal when it comes to tube gear. As for my personal experience, I have owned VAC Renaissance 140 mono amps for five years and have never had any problems of any kind.

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the newer version of the Avatar run KT-88 output tubes? The KT-88 tends to sound great as pentodes go, but there have been a lot of cheap ones on the market over the years and they can go up like bottle rockets. VAC's KT-88 are reliable, as are, I believe, recent vintages of the Sovteks. This would be my only concern (and the price -- VAC gear tends to be expensive).