BAT pre-amps with RCA adaptors

I recently demoed the BAT vk-3i and was very impressed. While the BAT is a balanced design, the rest of my system is completely single ended. BAT's literature suggests that I can use their xlr to rca adaptors until I can upgrade my source components and power amp to balanced designs.

I understand that I will not be getting the most out of the BAT preamp using it single ended, but I'm curious as to how much loss of sound quality I will suffer, and if it's enough to make me wait on the upgrade. I'd especially like to hear from any BAT pre-amp users who are using single-ended connections to their power amps and sources.

I own a VK3i and VK200. I'd been using the VK200 with a Blue Circle preamp with the BAT RCA to XLR adapters since March.

Before receiving the VK3i this summer Victor Khomenko advised me it would be best to run a balanced cable between them, but he also said it wasn't necessary to use balanced connections between the source and the preamp since the VK3i converted every input to balanced anyway.

I've never connected the two with an RCA cable and adapters so I can't comment on the difference, but the BAT combo sounds great connected by an XLR cable.

So in summary, from any source to BAT preamp it shouldn't matter, but from BAT pre to BAT amp people say it makes all the difference in the world.

Good luck!
Although I don't have a BAT, my ARC LS5mkII is also fully
balanced with only XLR connections. You can certainly use
single-ended sources with the adaptors. However the better
route is dedicated RCA->XLR terminated cables. This is how
I connect my single-ended Sony DVD player (2-channel only)
to my LS5mkII. Depending upon the geometry of your current
cables you may be able to have them reterminated with an
XLR on the preamp side for less than the price of adaptors.

In terms of the difference in sound quality, only you can
be the judge there. I will tell you that I can detect no
audible difference when I connect my balanced sources
(Wadia 860 CDP, Fanfare FT-1A tuner) via the
single-ended outputs vs. the balanced. But that is with
very short cable lengths (1-2 ft). A better test would
probably be in a setup that has long cable runs between the

If you feel there is a degredation in using the adaptors or
RCA->XLR cables, you can always try a balanced line driver
such as ARC BL-2 which will convert single-ended RCA input
signals to balanced XLR output signals. The price you pay
here is additional buffer circuitry in the signal path to
create the '-' side of the balanced signal. No free lunch.

In the end you really need to experiment yourself. I can
tell you that the VK-3i is a fabulous preamp and will work
wonderfully with single-ended components.
The 3i also has 2 or 3 sets of RCA input jacks and one set of RCA outputs, unless it is an upgraded Model 3, as far as I know. The two that I have owned all had both SE and balanced inputs and outputs.