Review: Dared VP300B Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

Ok, I have had both the Dared VP300B and Dared D6 amps for a year now. Both are great little amps for the money. The VP300B, is a SET 300B amp, made in China, and is currently marketed in the USA on Audiogon and ebay. They usually sell for about $700.00 give or take a little depending on the auction. The visual quality is very good, with eah channle being on it's own chassis, and sporting chrome (nickel?) and wood finish. The power supply is on a third chassis. When purchased, the importer, Joe, does not supply out put tubes, only the 4 input and driver tubes (1 driver and 1 input per channel). I purchased the Harmonex 300B tubes for my amp seperatly.
The amp it self is a small unit with fairly large output transformers. The 300B tubes has a metal wrap around bar for protection, so be warned that the tubes are for the most part fully expossed. I have also tried various out put tubes and I am currently using 5751 JAN NOS sylvanias for the input and driver tubes, but the included Sino tubes are not bad for the most part. The amp can be driven directly from your source, as these have an individual volume control for each channel. Some times I use a preamp, sometimes directly in, especially with the SACD player.
After a brek in period for the tubes and amp, I will say this is a very good sounding amp. Will it beat a Cary or a Jadis? NO! But it is very good for the money. With the big guns (which I have listened to several over the years) you get a little more of every thing. The Dared is about 80% of what a Cary is. The Dared has good but not great soundstaging on the JBL speakers. More senative speakers such as a Moth Cicada or Omega will most likly enhance the depth. On rock music, which is what I mainly listen to, it has great rythm and drive on the JBL speakers. In a small roo, like the bed room/ffice I used it in, they sound more than loud enough. In a larger room, with the Infinity IL50 speakers, they sounded nice, but lost a bit due to room size, so the dynaics did go down some what. not the amps fault for sure, just one needs more senative (and efficient) speakers in a large room. The Joe Jackson song, "Stepping Out" from the Night and Day lp sounded stunning with a snapping and quick sound on the JBL speakers. I really enjoyed listening to Peter Gabriel on SACD through the Dared as well. Femal vocalist sound excellent, such as Christie McVie and Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. As with every other SET amp I have listened to, the Dared gets that inner sensation of the midrange so right.
Down falls, the bassdoes loose steam, but hey this is only six watts per channel. The IL50 speakers have a powered woofer section, which helps the bass along with better definition.
I would recommend these to any one wanting to get into a 300B set amp ot a great price. These may be all you want in a SET!

Associated gear
Linn LP12 Rega P25, Sonny 775 SACD player, Infinity IL50 speakers, JBL325A speakers, Adcom GFP565 preamp, ARC LS7 preamp.

Similar products
Golden Tube SE40, Dynaco ST70, Dared D6 amp, Musical Fidelity A3cr.
I agree. I have a set of full mono VP-300B with 12AU7-mullard/6SN7-VT231 smoked/300B-VA 300B-C mesh, and I love these amps (Mullards or Amperex 12AU7, and Sylvania or VT-231 work in this amp for me). They are great amps all around and have surprisingly well controlled and deep bass with very good dynamics (on my trangle zerius 202). They respond well to tube changes and speaker cable too. I've upgraded the pot to an ALPS Blue Velvet and beefed up the B+ capacitance for the plates and I'm very happy with the greater clarity, dynamics, openness, and haze reduction. This improved the veiled, almost dull sound of the worn, bulging caps. It's much more refined and natural than my PP EL34 and KT88 amps. I do love my PP tube amps for the authority, power, dynamics and control, but I don't rock out too much anymore at high db's, and I don't need the exagerated dynamics too often...I can always swap out the natural pace of these 'little' SET amps for my PP tubes when I get the urge, but why? Dared has great service and communication, but quality is not the best. For the price and my nature to tinker, I think these are a great bargain.