BAT preamp owners

I was wondering if anyone would be so kind as to enlighten me on the differences between a vk 3i and vk 30 pre. I am thinking about adding some tubes to my system. I currently have an aragon 4004mk2 amp and altec lansing iconic horns. I sometimes switch out the aragon for a classe 10.
Any help would be appreciated. Also if you have switched to another pre please let me know. Thanks in advance, Larry
* living in cleveland no chance to demo.
VK3i is older, it was superceded by the VK30.

The VK3i IMHO has a slightly veiled sound. This was my experience with the one I owned. At the used price points, a very fine preamp regardless. As with any preamp, system matching will tell all.

I have not heard the VK30.

I have currently a VK50SE, though I'm not currently using it, it has great finesse, very detailed not real "warm and tubey". A great preamp.

Want a warm tubey sound, probably Conrad-Johnson would be better, want detail, microdynamics?....the BAT preamps excel at these traits.


Paul :-)
The BAT preamps I have owned, 3, had a character that was more solid state than tubes.

I own a VK3i (office system) and a VK30 (main system). It's worth mentioning that the two preamps are not priced the same, so to some degreee it'll depend on your budget.

The two preamps are quite different; the 3i has four 6DJ8/6922 tubes while the 30 has six, although both preamps have remote controls the 3i is limited to volume only while the 30 also switches inputs, and of course they look quite different. When you pop the hood it's clear there are more (and better) parts used in the 30 than the 3i.

In terms of sound the two do have a "family" resemblance that is BAT's signature sound. Smooth, very slightly rolled off, non-fatiguing presentation and great imaging. Both preamps benefit from tube-rolling and are quite sensitive to interconnect (power cords don't seem to make a lot of difference). I find the 30 has better control of the bottom end and has a wider/deeper soundstage than the 3i; the differences are quite obvious but both units are terrific products in their own right. If you have the budget, buy the 30 but you won't be disappointed in the 3i if you choose to go that route. Click on my System for a feel for the associated equipment I'm using. Best, Jeff
Thanks for the info, may have to pinch a few pennies for awhile and go for the newer 30. help ...greatly appreciated, Larry
Years ago I owned a 3i and won a contest on the Audio Revelation website in which the prize was a brand new VK-30. I was so excited about the new preamp that I committed the audiophile sin of selling my old component before the new one arrived. Big mistake. I never could get the 30 to sound as good as the 3i no matter what amount of tweaking and tube rolling I performed. I sold it after only a few weeks. There was an upper midrange glare that made it sound more like a SS preamp than a tube preamp.

BTW, if you aren't committed to having a remote controlled preamp, the Modulus 3A sounds much better than either BAT. It doesn't have all the features and frills, but it's a very good sounding preamp that can be had for a song on the Gon.
I used to own a VK3i as well. I agree with Jbello in that it sounded less tubey than other tube preamps I've owned. I think some of that can be attributed to the 6922 tubes. This is neither good nor bad, it just depends on what sonic character you're looking for in a tube preamp.
Well, since the bat's are getting mixed reviews ..any other suggestions in the $1200. used price range. Since I have never had tube equipment not sure what I expect from them..just thought I'd give them a try. Guess I'm after a slight warming of the sound but still would like clarity of each instrument and a wide soundstage..not asking for much!
thanks again for all the help
Actually, of all the tube preamps I've tried the VK3i best delivered the attributes you're seeking. I was just searching for a preamp that created music with more hips. A belly dancer, as opposed to an aerobics instructor.
Lvk, everything here gets mixed reviews....all the way up to the super-fi gear here. So much comes down to personal preferences and different compromises that each of us takes in our quest for musical enjoyment. So don't discard BAT gear because people here have differing opinions.

If your budget is $1200, you have limited options if you want a tube line stage. In the $1500-2000 range, I would suggest you try to find an ARC LS5 or BAT VK5i. Both of these are a significant cut above the 3i or 30 in terms of resolution and neither has a rolled off top end. They are however fully balanced in the real sense and have no RCA connections. But adaptors could be used with mighty fine results at the start. The Modulus 3A does not at all compete with these units. The only other unit that comes to mind is one of the older Counterpoint 3000 or 5000 which are in your price range and they include very good phono stages as well.

have a vk-30 and really, really like it alot.

it needs the best 7308's/6922 you can afford and the best powercord you can afford (the unit is very sensitive to power cords and they will the sound).

I have very good luck with the audience power cords...
I've owned both and loved them as I have all BAT gear I've had. Interface much better on 30 which I'm selling now to raise funds regrettably. Great stuff. Good luck.
The new 3ix is a significant improvement over the 3i.It has more depth and punch to my ears.It can be upgraded to an SE if one is so inclined. You might want to include this preamp in your search. I've never heard the VK 30.