ARC REF II mkI vs. BAT VK-51se

I would apptreciate any opinions and feedback on the sonic differences between these two preamps. I live in BFE and auditioning and listening is difficult but not impossible.Tell me what you like better and why. Thank you for all your input.
ask Jafox John Fox
he owns a Bat and owned ARC (although I believe it was an LS5 not a RefII
Have listened to both the early AR Ref one preamp and AR the Ref two.
compared to the VK-51SE i can say with much confidence that the VK51SE is much better in every aspect.
the first thing you will notice is the transparancy which is really in a different category.
The VK-51SE is like a passive device with gain.
loads of gain actually.
back to the AR Ref series. compared to the VK-51SE they sound rougher and have congested highs. to me it is this obvious.
I have had the experience that all AR amplifiers have this 'curtain over the speaker' thing.
have had an VT-200 mk2 hooked up to my Gen 501's for a week, same experience like the Ref series pre-amps. compared to my Atma-Sphere MA-2's its like losing 5 Khz in upper extension and air.
the midrange / lower midrange has a better texture though and has more bloom. i like that aspect better with the AR VT-200. but i go out of topic here..

If you want an edge of your seat experience; buy the VT-51SE if you can.

other pre-amps compared to;

Cello Encore
Cello Audio-Suite premium
AR Ref
Let's modify the question just slightly. Can someone compare the current Audio Research Ref 2 Mk. II to the current BAT VK51SE?
I would like to hear more about that too. I have thes same dillema - which one to choose. I was also thinking about getting Asthetics pre.