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The BAT VK-75 will offer a sweeter mid range and more of a real sound to the system IMO. I compared the VK-500 to a BAT VK-75 with Audio Physics speakers with the BAT VK-50SE and VK-D5SE a few years back and would have easily picked the VK-75 over the VK-500 and VK-6200 (running 2 channels).
I use both tube and solid state BAT amps in my system along with a D5 and 5i.
The strengths of BAT SS amps are probably obvious to you, since you own one. They don't offer the typical 'personality' associated with most SS amps. They aren't etched, glassy or grainy sounding, but neither do they present an airy or 3 dimensional quality. IMO, they certainly lack that good ol' tube magic, and rightly so. I use a VK200 for the bottom half of my biamp rig.
The VK60 suffers from a bit of bloat. It does't render low frequencies as well as a good SS amp can, but the realism & rendering of individual performers in space is very engaging and the upper frequency extremes are sweet and delicate. In short, the midrange is to die for. For female vocals(one of my weaknesses), there is nothing better than a good tube amp, and this is one of them. As you can probably guess, I use a VK60 for the top half of my biamp rig.
If I had to choose between the two, given my musical tastes, I would choose the VK60 hands down. I can live with less than perfect bass performance.
In my limited time listening to the VK75se, I got the impression that there would be much less of a trade off between the two design types. YMMV...
Loonytunz, thanks for your thoughts, which are very relevant (not meaning to exclude PBB and Artg in any way); your experience is exactly what I am seeking.
Just wondering, why not sell the 60 & 200 and get the 75se?
My impressions of the 500 have been very good. Lots of air, very palpable image, rock solid image in the middle of the speakers. A huge upgrade over my previous DNA-1, which I also loved. However, after listening my friend's tricked out Dynaco ST-70 in my system I was very impressed with the extra palpability. This was most noticable when I took his tubes out, and put my ss back. Sounded ... uh ... dang ... can't find the words ... well, ... not as real.
2 more VK-60's offered today .... hmmmm. Is 60w big enough?
Funny you should mention that. As soon as the stars are aligned properly, I will be getting a 75se. I'm really thrilled with the biamp setup for now, but if I could get similar results (and less heat) with a single amp, I would be hard pressed not to do it.
Once you've spent some time with a good tube amp, everything else seems somehow lesser, even if it doesn't do anything particularly wrong.
Whether 60 watts is 'big enough' or not depends a lot on what you listen to and how you listen to it. FWIW, the VK60 can rock the house with even moderately efficient speakers and not run out of gas. The other upside: you won't need a heater in the winter!
Sorry for confusion, I prefered the 60 but switched because I wanted to use Magnepans and thought I needed some more grunt. I also have a new baby and was afraid of him grabbing a hot tube, the amp almost has to be on the ground due to size and weight, and those tubes are so enticing when they glow. I don't know the Piega's but if possible try the 60, I think it's great and I see another in my future.
Have both the VK-75Se and an VK-250Bp for some time.
It all boils down to the old SS versus Tubes.
the 250 has a bit better slam and boldness, the 75Se is clearly more airy, natural, and has a very fine human touch.
mind you the 75Se can drive (almost) any speaker since it has 2 Ohm tap for convinience.
It drives my Gen 501 allright though this speaker has 1,7 Ohm load at around 500 Hertz..
If you look for nice tubey sounding amp don't look at BAT.
if you want it nicer than it actually is buy CJ ARC or Jadis.
BAT tube amps is not about making nice euphonic sounds.
you better have your cables and gear right.
Then my friend you not need to look anywhere else save the concert tickets..
Rello, the VK-250 does get fairly hot, but not like the older PASS amps.. the VK-75Se does not get hot like others mention here. if you find your 75SE really too hot to handle you never have put your head above a AtmaSphere OTL.
now that is a lot of heat.
Comparison. 250BP versus VK-75SE.
if you want the last word in control, and other parameters care much less, you should go for the 250BP.
if you are willing to let go of the very last word on authority you will find a very musical partner in the 75SE.
does that mean i find the 75SE better ?
yes i do.
save the most humongous speaker systems out there which come to life only by megawatts, i think any realworld speaker will be driven with great authority by the 75SE.
still need more power ? buy a second 75SE example.
Rello i can heartidly recommend the 75SE.
you will not be disappointed.
take care in choosing very good AC cords, and cables.
i use NBS Omega Zero on all BAT.
signal cables are pure Silver Kondo KSL.
the difference and gain with the right cables is not subtle.
OH mind you i found the 'burn-in' time with my BAT's ( i have all BAT gear)longer than expected.
it needs months of hard playing to really shine.
After 2 days of listening I observe the VK-75se has more "space" around each instrument; a bigger, way more open stage; better dynamics. Treble is brighter, but not etched. Everything has more substance - like turning the saturation up on a digital photo, but not as much as I expected it to be. It definitely has less of the "tube sound" than I expected.
VK-75se has unbelievable bass. I've unhooked the subwoofer and don't intend to put it back in the system. Bass is very substantial in Trittico/Pomp&Pipes, EnVogue, 1812 Overture (cannons), Steely Dan. Gotta go back and listen to VK-500 to confirm this as it just doesn't make sense.
VK-75se plays very loud. With 4 ohm Piega P-10s hooked to the 4/6 ohm taps, I get 100+ dB with the volume knob at 55 (vk-5i, vk-d5se).
On the other hand, it is physically even larger than the VK-500 (deeper), and weighs just about as much. The pictures don't convey its true size (2' deep plus cables). I can't describe this well, but I think the bass is punchy, but a bit "rounded" (is that mutually exclusive?). I notice on some R&R the pace seems to drag, e.g. Heart "Magic Man," but not so much in the classical/jazz stuff.
Wife recommendation is to keep it, as she likes it better too.