Ayre vs VTL vs BAT

I currently have an Ayre V-5xe amp and K-5Xe preamp. I am thinking about upgrading my preamp and possibly the amp as well. I have auditioned a number of companies products including Aethetix, Ayre, BAT, Cary, CAT, and Levinson. So far, I liked the Ayre K-1Xe and BAT-51SE the best. The last preamp/amp combo that I wanted to try was VTL, but there are no dealers near me. Can anyone tell me what kind of sonic differences I will hear between the Ayre K-1Xe vs the VTL 7.5? How about the V-1Xe or V-5Xe vs the VTL 450 monoblocks? Please feel free to comment on the BAT vs the VTL products as well if you have experience there.
Your already there, now just get one of these!

Well Tempered Lab Arm and Table Combinations

Record Player Arm and TableThis table and arm combination has an attractive constrained layer damped base consisting of 3 layers of 3/4" Medium Density Fiberboard with a black glossy laminate finish, an acrylic platter, a 1.25" diameter Record Player Clamp, and the Record Player Arm.


Classic V Arm and TableThis turntable and arm combination has a constrained layer damped base consisting of 3 layers of 1" Medium Density Fiberboard with an attractive gloss black laminate finish, the Black Damped Platter, a 2.4" diameter Classic Clamp, and the Classic Arm.


Reference Arm and TableThis table and arm combination has a constrained layer damped base consisting of 4 layers of precision machined and polished Fountainhead. This beautiful material has both the weight and look of fine polished stone. The Black Damped Platter, 3" reference clamp, and the Reference Arm are standard on the Well Tempered Reference.

What does a turntable have to do with my question at all?
Your absolutely right!

Charles Hansen and the nice folks at Ayre are my favorites, I'm sure they can give you an honest description of the differences between their 5 and their 1 series as well as their new mono's.

You have a great system with a nice view. I apologize for the turntable reference.
While you would have to wait a bit yet (and who knows the impact Charlie's accident and recovery will have on the release date), the next product in the "R" series (i.e., "Reference") will be a new pre-amplifier (to be designated KX-R presumably). If the step up from the V-1xe to the MX-Rs is any indication of what we can expect (acknowledging that the MX-Rs are 70% more expensive than the V-1xe), it could be very well worth the wait.
I cannot speak to the VTL, BAT, but I am very knowledgeable about Ayre equipment and the manufacturer. Let me tell you that Charlie Hansen is the consummate professional, as well is Steve, Michael, and all the other individuals that make Ayre what it is: a top-notch manufacturer of high-end, Class A audio equipment that has few peers. I haven't spoken verbally with Charlie since his accident but I know he would tell you that Ayre is very well represented in his absence.

Having said all this, I can tell you that there is NOT ONE manufacturer who has treated this female audiophile better. Many have made me feel the minority that I am in this crazy hobby. But, not Charlie, Steve, Michael and the good folks at Ayre. They made me feel like an owner, and I am proud to be an owner of their wonderful equipment.

This is not to say anything negative about VTL, BAT, Cary, CAT or Levinson. Firsthand experience with Ayre leaves me not really wanting to venture out too far (although I have a wonderful AR PH5 phono preamp which is a wonderful piece of gear). The other manufacturer that treats the female audiophile right = the owner of Avalon Loudspeakers. I was incredibly impressed with the way they treated me, even though I did not become a buying customer.

My experience with VTL has been excellent, and I have been dealing with them for years. I think it is important to know how to deal with VTL. E-mail is not the best way to communicate, over the phone is best. Bea is very helpful, and if necessary Luke will get on the phone as well. In fact he has called me on my cell personally, unsolicited. And I don't own their high-priced equipment-5.5 and an ST-150.

I will admit, they are not quick with getting equipment out to you, and they aren't the perfect service company. But VTL should not be avoided for service reasons, they are excellent to deal with, and their products are well-worth overlooking any (very) minor shortcomings.

You have chosen some great brands. I would audition the Audio Research LS-26 and the REF 3 if possible. I know you do not have them on your list. As with anything, your personal preference will prevail. Can you list what you are craving in your setup?? You really cannot go wrong with any on your list IMHO.
More air, larger soundstage, a more smooth sound, and better dimensionality with better reproduction of the small details are what I am looking for.
Having heard the V5xe,but not the others lately,perhaps I am in the wrong room.That being said the Ayre's layering and soundstage are first class/top shelf.Thinking a sideways move may not be your goal,but as usual synergy will be in the doing,not the the talking,good luck,Bob
VTL's are well worth it. Customer service has been fine. 6 years with their products, all very good. Highly recommended. Have heard good things about both others too but still prefer the VTL's for my use... you will like them too. Good luck.