I've owned multiple versions of CJ, ARC, Melos, and VTL. My wife and I are very partial to tube sound. However each manufacturer has a rather distintive sound that can be shifted by changing the brand of tube used in their equipment. I think it would be rather difficult to recommend a unit based on sound and think it would be a matter of preference. We actually prefer the Melos sound and dislike the CJ sound but I would never recommend that someone buy a Melos due to reliability problems. We have a local tech that can fix mine. VTL sounded OK to us but the ARC units have always been our second choice when we have compared units. We haven't heard the BAT in our system. I strongly recomend you listen before you buy unless you have the capital to buy used, decide and resell what you don't like.