bat vk 3i vs arc ls2b

$700-$1000 whic pre is better?

$700.-$1000 which do i want?
You need to tell people what attributes/qualities/sonics you seek here. At this price, there will be compromises in many places. And what is missing with yoru current line stage? And why have you singled out these two models vs. others? "Better" for you could be quite different than that for someone else. I've done enough bashing on the ARC LS2B on this site already, but I have not heard the 3i so I can not comment on it specifically. But both companies have made some great line stages in the last 10 years as well. Please do a search on these two products to get a feel for what people have to say about each of these.
tough call....points to consider. in regards to the sonic signature, you can "roll" the tubes

arc ls2b - 1 - 6922/7308 tube
bat- 4 6922/7308 tubes ( more $$$$ to retube with premium tubes) and 2 6v6's ( can still get premiums reasonabley)

arc ls2b III remote- goes for big $$$$$$
Bat 3vki - often included(factory upgrade is no longer available)

some units have have it installed. the bat 3vki can be upgraded for $500 (awesome deal imo )

Bat 3 vki - add phono, super tube option, 6 pack option
ARC 2B- non

The BAT is a true full dual differential balanced full "tube" design ( if you have balanced inputs on your amp- this is a biggie.
The ARC2 is a psuedo balanced "hybrid" design

Power Cord
BAT- your choice
ARC- Factory or modifaction time

imo, the only drawback to the BAT is the 4 6922/7308's.

I would go for the BAT ( i have had both in my house) - the ls2b is very good but it has a slight "grain" on the top. The BAT is a newer design and BAT service is impeccable.

Hope that helps,

Mikesinger nice post! Bat 3 vki Upgradeabiltity super tube option, 6 pack option - Is this option really available from BAT? I have never heard anyone mention it for the VK-3i.
Call BAT on the remote issue, I just bought a VK3 and VK60 (I'm already in love) and Steve at BAT told me they can upgrade the 3 to i status and install the remote option, but only for a short while longer. The only problem being that I can't get the internal phono or single ended inputs on an upgraded VK3, so I'm considering selling it and moving up in their line. I was also unaware of 6 pack being available for this one.
Mthieme, How Much were the upgrades going to cost... Especially to upgrade to the Remote Feature? - I just saw on EBay the VK-3i sell for as low as $750.(non remote)
With the 3i adding the remote is 500, as is adding phono, but with the 3 which is what I have, you pay the same 500 but with the mandatory i upgrade at 250, and phono is not available, and the factory will not be able to do it much longer. I bought without researching enough, and found this out after the fact. I'm thrilled with their products and I'm thinking of moving up the line and selling the vk3. This time I will not cheap out and forget the remote.
call bat on the supertube upgrade...i think ( dont hold me to this) it takes it to a 31se. btw, this a $$$$$$ upgrade, you would be better off selling the unit and buying a used supertube model ( imo).

btw, a really nice pre is the pse h-1. they dont come up that often but here is a run down:

1. 2- 6922/7308 tubes
2. remote
3. sounds like a upgraded arc
4. no phono
5. upgradeable power cord
6. signature factory mod- this is supppose to be a killer (mine is at the factory right now for this).

hope that helps,

Can I still have a phono stage installed in the VK3i?
BAT still has the VK-P3 listed on their site. I have one in my 3ix. It's a fantastic phono section.