BAT VK-51 SE or McIntosh C200?


I am in the process of upgrading my system, one piece at a time, and am starting with the preamp. I think I've narrowed it down to these two preamps. Anyone have any advice? I listened to both the BAT 31SE and the Mac C2200 in my system, and preferred the MAC for its better high-level extension. I am currently using a Bryston 4B ST amp driving Dynaudio Confidence 5's. Thanks all!
sotaphile
the mac is by far the long term pre here......the phono section rocks too.....mixes well with bryston
I own a BAT 51SE. I had a 31SE in my system while my 50SE got upgraded to a 51SE.

The 51SE is more extended airy on both extremes. music flows with more ease. more demensional.

if you liked the 31se, and only complaint was high end extension, my opinion is you'll love the 51SE...

Good luck
Confused...

Are you talking about the C2200 or the C200...quite different.
If you liked the C2200 best, get the C200. Stereophile's review of the 51SE and C200 said they were about the same in terms of sound quality but the C200 had a better user interface and costs almost $1k less.
I auditioned the C2200, but would consider the C200. I realize that the former is tube and the latter is solid-state, but I'm hearing and reading that the C200 is a better sounding unit.

Thanks to everyone for their advice so far...
A little off topic. I recently bought the BAT VK-42SE SS pre. From what I have read on the internet it is supposed to sound similar to the BAT VK-51SE (though I have never heard any other BAT pre-amps before).

My 6 week evaluation of the this pre-amp connected to my Bryston 7B-SST monoblocks has lead me to decide to keep this pre in my system.

It is a beautiful sounding combination. I was using the Bryston BP-25 (MPS-1 upgrade power supply) for the last 5 years with the Bryston monoblocks. Compared to that combo the BAT is smoother sounding, has a larger sound stage, and surprisingly more detailed. I just love this combo.During the past 6 weeks+ I have played about 170 disks and discovered lots of new beauty in my music collection.

I listen to music such as Bob Marley, Rush, Pearl Jam, U2, Emmylou Harris, etc... All sounded great with the BAT. I play my system even more than before now.

BTW - I use Audience AU24 balanced interconnects between pre and amps. I found this was a good combo with Bryston. I previously owned 3B-ST and 4B-ST and I think this new BAT pre would also sound good with those amps.

I would urge you to consider the Cary Slp 05. It replaced my VTL 7.5 and it sounds incredible, one of the best and most magical preamplfiers I have ever heard. It has only a basic remote.
Aball writes:
about the same in terms of sound quality but the C200 had a better user interface and costs almost $1k less
I find it impossible to fault the user interface on my BAT 50SE (the same I believe as the 51). One doesn't need much from a preamp these days - and the BAT just seems so intuitive for the functions I use.

I confess that I far prefer the restrained looks of the BAT over the Mac.

Regards,
I would urge you to consider the Cary Slp 05. It replaced my VTL 7.5 and it sounds incredible, one of the best and most magical preamplfiers I have ever heard.
Audiooracle: I did have a chance to audition the Cary Slp 05 in comparison to ARC LS26. The amp was a Pass Labs and the speakers were Vandersteen Quattros. To me, the pre sounded too forceful in the upper midrange such that vocals sounded almost overmodulated. Any comments?
The preamp is anything but forceful, however as with anything in this industry, setup is everything! I use mine with an Acoustic Zen Krakatoa and it makes a huge difference with this preamplifier.

Where did you hear the preamp and under what conditions?
I heard it in a store, hooked up to Vandersteen Quattros and a Pass Labs power amp. I don't know what the cables were. However, I just plunked down the $$$ for the Cary SLP 05 based on everything I heard about it and the new review in Stereophile. I hope it's as amazing in my system as everyone has been saying.
Sotaphile: Even after your own observations with the Cary indicated that something did not sound "right" for you, you still went ahead and bought the unit because of everything you heard about it and a silly magazine review? Did you at least take it home and try it out in your system for a few days?
to Sota file,

Where did you get the preamp from?

Please use a good power cord with the preamp it will make a huge difference. ALso put the preamp on a good isolation platform the rubber feet make it sound soft.
Audiocircle.
I replaced my VTL 7.5 with the cary slp-98P. the cary was so much more musical and I do not miss the VTL 7.5 at all.
the gain issue on the 7.5 was a royal pain in the ass using any amp that had higher than 26db gain.
the vtl 7.5 remote control was the best I have ever used, compared to the cary which is shit and the 98P is noisy once you get past unity gain.