BAT VK-5i or VK30 ??

Hi folks!
Anybody who might have had compare them and would care to
express an opinion on this topic...I'm looking for richness and fullness in low midrange and I understood that both offers it in spades.
Should the cut in tube # and features from 5i to 30 be regarded as economy or technological advance from BAT?
Also, what would be a good price to pay for these models?
Million thanks!
The absolute sound has a review of the vk30se in the current issue. I have a vk50se, wow. Stereophile did a review of the VK50se and in it compared the 5i to the 50se. It was about a year ago, and if my memory serves me right, they said the 5i was more rich, and pretty close to the 50se at twice the price. You can also upgrade a 5i to a 5se. I wouldn't assume less tubes means much, just a different implementation.

I've seen a few VK50's on here, if your budget will let you strech a little. Then you can upgrade later to a 50se and have the best preamp out there!
There is NO contest, the VK5i is a much better sounding preamp, I've had both. The VK5i is a sleeper bargain. You should be able to find one on Audiogon for around $1700-$1900 depending on age and the build quality is EXCELLENT!
Thanks guys!
You've enlightened me on the subject.
Victor Khomenko himself said the differences are minor at best. I have listened to both. the Vk30 is the better piece, simply from a user interface standpoint. Also, more updateable and a new piece too. Cheaper to retube as well. Check the Audio Asylum ( for more info, search the archives.
I auditioned both the VK 5i and the VK 30 and went with the 30. However, both are excellent. The VK-30 is more versatile in that it can use either balanced or single ended connections, where the 5i is only balanced. The user interface is awesome. You can tailor the parameters of every input (balance, phase, volume, etc.) individually or globally. And the remote is outstanding. I've loved it for the last 2 years with no regrets, and the sound with the VK-200 and Aerial 10Ts is incredible.
Oops, forgot to add another piece of information for anyone considering the VK-30 versus 5i issue. The new VK-30 can accept the $500 onboard BAT phono card, where the 5i can not. This means you can have a one-box solution which includes phono as well as line level inputs. If you go with the 5i, you have to have a separate piece for phono, such the Lehmann Black Cube, or BAT's own VK-P5 or P10.
Good point on the phono card. However, I demo'd the VK30 with card vs. my 5i and P5 and the 5i/P5 just blew the doors off the internal VK30 card for phono. Add to that the 5i's greater sense of space and smoothness and I believer the 5i/P5 is a clear winner. That said, I have since upgraded to the VK50SE and only have praise for it.
Ahh... Good point Meta. Some may even want to consider starting with the VK-30 or 30SE with the VK-P3 card if they don't go with a 5i, then upgrade later to the VK-P5 phono unit if they outgrow it. So many excellent choices no matter which way you start. Can't go wrong either way.
I myself have in home auditioned the 3i and the 50se. I preferred the 3i. I felt base control was outstanding with the 3i and the mid range was just there prefectly. Amp used was my vk200. I myself am looking to get a new pre amp. I was thinking of the vk30(not the 30se). I like all the improvements made like the user interface and standby mode. I have not listed to the vk30 cause I can't find one to audition. Does anyone out there know how the 3i and vk30 perform sound wise, side by side? Like I said I preferred the 3i to the 50se, but want the extra options the vk30 has, without losing the musicality of the 3i. Basically does the 3i sound like the 30????? Any help is appreciated. Thanx Pete
Pete, I felt that the VK-30 sounded a lot like the 5i. BAT says the 3i has the same level of current delivery as the "legendary" 5i. I liked the 5i vs the 3i and preferred it's midrange dimensionality and bass, but the 3i was nice too. I've not heard the SEs. However, if you liked the 3i, I think you'd like the VK-30. I've loved it for 2 years.