vac or art audio

can sombody help me decide im looking at art audio diavolo or the vac 30 30 my speakers are silver line sonatinas and ra cd 55 i have not heard either one ,just going by reveiws i did audtion the vtl tiny triodes and thoght they were just great. could the art or the vac be that much better at three times the price? please help
Hi Kelleyann. I have a pair of Coincident super eclipse that work well with small power tube amps just like your sonatinas. The diavolo is the best of the amps you have mentioned. I just bought a Viva 13w integrated and I cant believe the power and drive this amp has. This Viva has replaced my Cary 805c. It performs better than any amp I have heard. If Viva price tag is too steep then go for the diavolo. You will love it.
I'm using the VaC pa 35/35 (32 wpc) EL-34 triode amp. This amp is not directly heated like the 30/30. I feel it mates very well w/my Sonatinas. I've heard the 30/30 MK II, feeling they were the best amps I've heard-period. But the other amps mentioned are great too. You'll never know till you listen w/them at home, have fun...I'm sure you will. E-MAIL when you have decided. mike
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The last amp I owned was a VAC 30/30 Mk 3. I now own the Art Audio Jota. I was using the VAC with Von Scweikert VR6 speakers. I am using the Art Audio with Talon Khorus speakers. Both are terrific amps, but the Jota has tighter bass, is more neutral in the midrange, and has more focus. It is also more expensive. The Diavolo has similar qualities, but with less power. VAC amps tend to be a little darker than the Art Audio. Depending on your speakers and system, this could an advantage. You can't go wrong with either one...just depends on your taste and system. The Art Audio Diavolo is going to be somewhat harder to match up with speakers that can take that massive 13 watts of power, even if it does sound like more. If your can afford a Jota, it's more of a no-brainer. Resale value is better with the VAC. Sold mine in a day. Lots of Diavolos out there. The VAC is just more versatile. It's also fairly easy to get a deal on a new VAC. I paid about $4200. for mine brand new. Customer service for either is outstanding. Art is moving to this country, but already has great US representation. You can add a volume control to the Art products, if that appeals to you.
I just recently purchased a used Ren 30/30 Mk II, and I really like it a lot. It drives my 87db Merlin TSM-SE speakers with ease. You can easily tune the sound to your liking by changing input/driver tubes (although they are getting expensive), and the amp is highly responsive to different set-ups. I have not heard the other amps you mention, but I am sure they are great as well. Good Luck
Hi Kellyann! To continue with my previous comments, the VTL Tiny Triodes are great for the money, but not a full range amp. They offer the wonderful triode soundstage and midrange, but don't have much bass. If you read the reviews on the VTLs in The Absolute Sound and Wes Phillips page from Soundstage, you will see that these amps work well above 60 hz in bass, and really well above 80 hz. The Tiny Triodes were reviewed with speakers that are not full range. Your speakers go considerably lower, and my guess is you would eventually wish for more than the tiny triodes could deliver. The VAC and the Diavolo should both work well with your speakers. The Diavolo is cheaper on the used market (about 3 grand), where as a 30/30 Mk 3 will set you back at least $3750. Another consideration is tube cost. To replace the VAC tubes is expensive if you want good ones. Four Western Electric 300bs will cost you $1200. or more. The two VV32b tubes run about $450. without a discount. I picked up some for $150 a pair. In short (too late!), yes, either the VAC or the Diavolo is worth the money over the VTL Tiny Triodes.
Be careful with the Art Audio Diavolo vs. Jota. Similar sound, maybe, but not the same. The Diavolo is more harmonically full and musically appealing. I love it! But the Jota has that extra power increment, if you have to have it.
After 6 years of the vac 30-30 and many changes of tubes and 2-3 weeks of trying to audition the art audio amps I can tell you that I never got more than a few hours of listening before I would call the dealer to do a recall on the diavalo,enough was enough,now the bad news on the vac is that you MUST replace the 6sn7 tubes with n.o.s brimar,sylvania,mullard or the 5692 base.THEN you call welborne labs and tell Ron that you need a matched quad of the kr 300b.At this point you can sit back and laugh at all tube amp owners, there is nothing better
I'll chime in here and support VAC. I've got a Renaisance 70/70 MKII and it's the last amp I will own. I've had it several years and every time I go to any Audio Salon to listen to newer and better stuff I always prefer the sound I am getting at home regardless of their system cost or innovation. Good tubes are better. I can play with tubes to change it's sound if I prefer and it's built like an army tank, maybe better!