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Dared VP-300B
3 Reviews
rating  5 of 5


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tim McCormick a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I fired up my new Dared VP-300B four days ago. Upon that date, my listening room grew four fold. I’ve run audiophile class solid-state amps and push-pull tube amps, but this Single Ended Triode with Sophia Princess 300B mesh plate 300B tubes has a soundstage that extends beyond the walls of my room.

It is driving my vintage 1985 Klipsch La Scala fully horn loaded speakers (SPL=105) with new AA crossovers and upgraded tweeters. The sound source is a Cambridge Audio Azur 640c V2 CD Player and alternately a MusicHall 5.1 turntable.

There is certainly a down side to operating a quality SET 300B with amazingly efficient, detailed speakers: You hear all the mistakes the audio engineer made mixing the tracks of otherwise prized compact discs. You hear previously undetected inhalation of air by vocalists. I believe I even hear the ticking of a wristwatch that is probably touching the bell of a trombone just before the performer plays. My old vinyls have new detail.

As the system burns-in, I will experiment with rolling NOS 12AU7, and various interconnecting cables, but as a whole, I could not be more pleased.

The Dared VP-300B was purchased from Joe (prophotolighting) from his eBay storefront. He is the Dared USA distributor located in Naperville, Illinois. Price for the VP-300B was $729 plus $39 shipping. Sophia Princess Mesh 300B matched pairs were $411.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2008

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by steven tom a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2007

Bottom Line:   
My first entry into SET 300B moving from PP Pentodes. I really enjoy this amp with its clean, quiet, involving sound. Used directly from a CD input, it provides much more clarity and dynamics than from my tube preamp (which I know is already soft, which makes things a bit too slow and dull in the treble region). However, I have analog setup which requires me using this as a tube amp. My version has the 6SN7, which I really enjoy with its big, bold sound and deep bass. The amps respond to tube changes in all stages. The Mullards work well in the 12AU7 stage to bring out life and details. The Sylvania 6SN7 black plate w/chrome domes smooths the sound. The Valve Art 300B-98C are very very smooth. Don't even try using the EH 300B, which I mistakenly bought - they flatten the sound, give better bass, but lose everything I enjoy about a SET or tube design. I sold them in about 2-3 hours of use. Sophia Electric Princess 300B were very quiet and revealing, but lose a good bit of lushness of the Valve Arts.

I use these with my Triangle speakers and never had issues driving my 93db floorstanders. Bass is not up to a PP KT88 setup or tightness of a SS amp. However, if your musical tastes consistently run loud, bass-heavy, or ultra-dynamic, you probably wouldn't be interested in reading this review anyways. The aera where these amps shine is the quietness of the SET, involving and engaging instruments and sounds, ability to portray a believable listening environment, and overall enjoyment in the music.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   audiogon

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JohnGalt a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 5, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Mine is the 2005 model (no choice for 2005 in the drop down menu so I had to choose 2004), with a pair of 12AU7s driving a single 300B. The amps share a power box, but an extra power box can be bought from Dared to make "true" monoblocks. $800 is approximately my "out-the-door" price for the amp equipped with the optional Shuguang 300B tubes and single powerbox. You might get a better deal if your timing is right on ebay or audiogon.

Out of the box - the amp really blew my mind. It was my first SET. I really felt like I was on to something, because the sound became really 3-dimensional and filled my small room richly. Voices and instruments hovered in the air - my speakers disappeared.

I bought some RCA clearplate and Telefunken 12AU7s and threw away the chinese 12AU7s that came with the amp. After listening a little while like this, I SOLD my Audio Note Soro. I like the Dared SET better!

THEN, I found some Western Electric 300B tubes on the internet for a good price, and I learned from Dared that I need to change the cathode resistor to use them (awesome after-sale support from the distributor). So I bought a 1K ohm, 25 Watt resistor, and I really wish I had done this sooner!! I'm sure the Dared engineers know what they are doing, but once I changed the resistor (still using the chinese 300B tubes that came with the amp), I immediately felt that the amps could be turned up higher with less distortion. Sounded good. Could be my imagination but I thought the amp was better after this one and only change.

Now I have plugged in my WE 300B tubes, and at first I did not realize a tremendous difference (truly the 300Bs that are sold with the amp are quite excellent). But after I played some Pink Floyd, I realized that the WE tubes were giving me deep bass slam that was missing before. Are the WE tubes worth $700-$800/pair? I don't know - it's a fun hobby and it's cool to have WE tubes. I think the Shuguang tubes were really good frankly. I have to assume the WE will last longer and they do have better bass.

To make a long story short - these amps are a tremendous value at the internet price. You can hear what SET sound is like and then you can decide whether to keep your solid state gear (or your more expensive tube gear). For me - I decided that the Dareds were all I needed for my special HiFi and guitar gear room! I am extremely pleased with these amps. If you buy them, give it a try to change the cathode resistor to 820 or 1000 ohm and see if you experience the same as me. Easy to switch back if you don't like it better. Plus it is fun to tweak gear!

Oh yes, and one more thing... I've used it with and without a dedicated preamp. I think the sound is better with a separate preamp, and besides I like to have remote volume control and easy source switching - so I use it with a preamp. But you don't need to use a separate preamp if you don't mind manual volume control and changing interconnects to switch sources (tuner/cd).

My associated equipment:
Hafler kit tuner
Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp
Audio Note ANE-SPE speakers
Apature cables

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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