Ayre K5xe vs BAT Pre

So I am about to pick up my first BAT product, a VK-500. I am currently using an Ayre C5xeMP to Ayre K5xe to VK-500 to Magnepan 1.6. My question is would it be a positive move I get a BAT pre instead of the Ayre. I don't know a ton about the BAT pre line but would think that the Ayre would be more detailed. Would the imagining improve with say a BAT 32se? I know it's all about synergy but is bat suppose to be a higher level product in comparison to Ayre? Thanks
Both brands are excellent. I've had pieces from each one and I prefer Ayre. I don't see myself switching to any other brand. Looking at your system, I feel your weakest component is your 1.6's. I had a pair of them for about a year. Felt that they are very overrated. You won't see the full potential of your other components with the 1.6's in your system.
I moved from Ayre to BAT system and have been very happy with the change. Started with the BAT VK-31se and then went to the Ayre K-1xe. It was nice but could not match the midrange or bass of the bat. Then went on to the BAT VK-42se (ss) preamp. better than either of the others and very underrated preamp. Also owned phonostage from both, and the V-1xe amp from ayre. I would match a BAT preamp with your amp. Now own all REX system.
Thanks, so just like all equipment it seems to be more personal preference than one being better. As for the Maggie's, I have heard quite a few Wilson, B&W, and Revel systems and always felt the Maggie's were more emotionally involving.
"Thanks, so just like all equipment it seems to be more personal preference than one being better."

Your absolutely right about that. Whatever you end up with, BAT or Ayre, I feel you win either way. At their given price points, both companies make products that are state of the art. There are some other great companies out there, as well, but I don't think there’s anything better; just different.

I don't mean to put your 1.6's down in any way. I've owned them and was just giving my honest opinion. Also, I forgot to ask, why a BAT 500? Your source and preamp are Ayre. Why not consider a V5? Needless to say, it will be a synergistic match. You do state in your original post that imaging is very important. If that’s the case, I can tell you that I have 2 V5's in my system and the imaging is better than anything I have ever heard; tube or solid state. Keep in mind, though, all components contribute to a systems imaging.
I would love to trade someone my VK-500 for Ayre V5xe purely on synergy. I was able to get a good deal on the bat locally that no one currently selling a V5 was willing to give me. So that is the reason for the purchase of the Bat. The amp I replaced was a 185 watt emotiva. Hopefully the new amp will open up my system further.

I was not worried about your comment, heck this weekend I demo'd some 3.7's with a friend who owns Revel studio 2 and he felt that there was something missing. I thought they were wonderful :) and would have bought them on the spot if funds allowed :). And thus the reason there are so many audio manufacurers.
The VK500 is a great amp. Even though the Ayre should be the best match for synergy, the BAT should mate very well with your current setup. I can't imagine you not getting good results with it in your system. Its also a very unique amp. Its actually 2 mono amps in one box. I don't know of any other amp that is designed like that.

If you don't mind, can you post what you think of it once you have had a chance to listen to it. I'm interested on how it compares to your Emotiva.
Well I sold the emotiva before I received the Bat so I cannot make an A/B comparison, but I owned the emotiva long enough to know the sound quite well. The main things that jumped out at me. The Bat is a little darker sounding, the UPA-2 was not bright but was not quite as dark. The Bat definitely takes an hour to warm up, until warm the sound is VERY dark almost cutoff. The Emotiva sounded pretty much the same from the time you turned it on. I cannot tell if either are more detailed, but the Bat sounds more realistic, which is the goal. While my system is sounding its best and I have no plans to sell anything I have grown in my respect to the quality products emotiva is putting out. I truly believe for the $4500 that an emotiva system with XSP-1, XPA-2, ERC-2, and Magnepan 1.7 would be at least 90% of my system currently costing $18,000 retail value. My old setup was USP-1, ERC-1, UPA-2, and Mag 1.6, I do not currently own any emotiva components but if I even need the cash emotiva WILL be my downgrade system.
Why would you want to switch from Ayre. There is a synergy using an all Ayre system that would be denied with another "house sound" fighting what Ayre is all about. Be sure to interconnect with balanced cables (I use Anti-Cables with great satisfaction). I would go up the Maggy line myself.
I didn't switch from an Ayre. I never had an ayre amp. I would love to try a V5xe or V1xe but the BAT is sounding and looking pretty good.
The BAT VK-51se and VK-42se preamps are a steal at there used prices. IMO a step up from the Ayre your using now and (personal preference) nicer than the K-1xe. I also think after living with the BAT amp for a while you might find the V5xe a little thin and bass light. The V-1xe would be more on the same same level (if not better) than the VK-500 amp you have now.
I would get the BAT "tube" preamp. It should sound marvelous with XLR connections to your amp.