I have a VK60. Yes, the auto bias does everything for you. It's a great amp. Depends on your speakers. I have Audio Physic virgo's...great match.
21 responses Add your response
I have owned the BAT VK-60 a few times (the same one). It had revision C boards. The amp was a cool looking and ok sounding but sounded very bright with various preamps (ARC LS-22, BAT VK-40, etc.) My biggest problem with BAT is the company. What sort of company makes revisions A-F on the an amp in less than 3 years? They wanted about $4500 to bring my rev. C amp up to the VK-60SE. What a deal! I ditched the amp. I am now using a Kora Galaxy (Sweet) and the Rogue Audio 99 preamp (Freakin incredible). I just ordered the phono board for it. I would say it is a keeper. Read the reviews on www.audioreview.com. Rogue gear may not look as polished as some but the engineering and sound quality are top notch. The guys at Rogue are very helpful and can help a lot with tube rolling and such if you are interested in that. I wish I could say if the 120's are better than the BAT VK-60 or 60's. I imagine that they are. What I can say is that as companies go I would rather deal with a company that has sound design ideals up front than a bunch of tinkerers. VK and the gang are applying the same revision ideals to audio gear as they did in the computer business (HP). As a computer geek I understand this. As an Audio Geek I detest this approach. Sorry. I did not mean to make this a diatribe against BAT. My opinion..go for the Rogue and be happy.
Catman may have an axe to grind, but he should get the facts correct before launching into his "diatribe". At any rate, in his "rant" about BAT let me say that he is first, not comparing apples to apples. A VK 60 or VK 60 SE is not the same as a pair of Rogue 120's...heck, they're not the same amp in the BAT product line. Check out the specs and get back to us. Second, the costs quoted are not accurate numbers, and bringing a rev.C board up to the latest, as we all know, can be costly. Third, and most importantly, the VK 60 SE is a completely different amp, more akin to the new VK 75, which uses the 6H30 SuperTube also...not exactly a "board upgrade". The VK 60 SE, which is still available as a special order product, is a more costly product, virtually rebuilding the entire amp in the process...therefore, the comments about upgrading to stay current are not accurate, as you can upgrade, or you may move up to a SE edition of the amp. The VK 60 was introduced at the 1995 CES, it had a production run of 5+ years, before being upgraded so much that it evolved into a new amp altogether, hence, the new VK 75. Rev. circuit board changes are not the issue...it's the ability (or lack of) to move from a standard issue VK 60 to the SE edition which has Catman miffed. Do your homework and audition both amps if possible, but let me tell you, the old adage holds true here: "God is in the details." Check out the feedback on various websites, industry reviews, continuous class A recommendations, white papers on both amps and listen for yourself...Mark O'brian is no Victor Khomenko...and don't get me started on the virtues of the VK 60M, 120 watt monoblock amps that smoke the Rogue 120's...(there's another version of the VK 60 Catman forgot to mention.)
Sterling.have you heard the Rogue 120 in the same system as the BAT.If you have not you are not in a position to say it smokes the other.
Since the BAT costs 2300.00 more it bloody well should.You can buy a used Rogue 120 for less than the cost differential.
I have not heard the BAT so I cant comment.
Also your not in a position to comment on Mark O,brien.I have dealt with few people of his class and integrity.
Here is the e-mail from VK. I really have nothing against VK and BAT but the way they do business. I like the Guano gear but as an EE type I get confused (pissed) when someone makes 6 (now 7) modifications to the board in 5 years. In the mini computer business it was not unheard of to have PCB's with 40-60 revisions on them. Most of those revisions were necessary to run new versions of ucode and operating revisions. In this case we are talking about a very old art that you either know or you don't (tube circuits). As far as Mark O'Brian I think he seems to know this art if he designed the Rogue 99. For $2400 or less you can have one of the most musical preamps I have ever heard. It is a pefect match for the Kora Galaxy. Well I am way off subject here. I really don't know if the Magnum 120's sound better than the BAT's. Here is the e-mail from VK about the cost of a version C to VK-60 rev.F and VK-60SE. Add them together to get to the SE. I stand corrected. He wanted $4750 not $4500.
The VK-60SE upgrade cost for that unit will be $3000 plus $1750 for newere
Hi Catman, I think you are way off the mark on your comments on BAT and the fine people who work there. I think it's a tribute to BAT that since 1995 they made many improvement upgrades to the VK60 over the years and the retail price for a VK60 stayed the same. Sterling is correct that the VK60se and 75se are completely different products then the standard VK60 and VK75. I can't comment on the sonic differences of how the Rogue compares to the VK60 but I can tell you how the VK mono 60's to my ears walked all over an ARCVT200 as well as many other highly regarded amps that I've auditioned. Please make the effort to compare the amps for yourself. I'm sure the BAT will more than hold its own against any others at any price. As far as customer service goes BAT has been unparallel in my experience! Regards, Tom
Ok. One last attempt here to get my point across and then I will be quiet. Regardless of how nice people are if you bought an amp for say $4500 and then 3 to 5 years later they had an upgrade for the amp. You inquired about it, and they told you it would cost you $4750 to upgrade it. What would you think? There is something called customer loyalty and I don't think that this sort of pricing model exhibits customer loyalty. This sort of mentality is more the norm when we are talking about business machines that you depreciate and make money with. These are toys. I am sorry but this just hit a nerve with me. I could be all wet here. Ok I am done. I will go on my way with my Rogue Kora combo. Both are excellent values and can be had for about the same price as the VK60 SE upgrade.
I must say that these attacks on BAT are a bit much. One buys an amp from a manufacturer that one thinks sounds great(why else would one buy it?), and then the manufacturer sees fit to upgrade. So what? That manufacturer isn't forcing you to pay for that upgrade. Those who have a gripe here, are those who feel somehow left out or cheated if they don't have the latest and the greatest. I am now auditioning a pair of early production VK60s and while I don't think them perfect, I do think they are excellent sounding amps by any measure. As far as the BAT v Rogue comparison is concerned. I auditioned a pair of Rogue 120s in my system last year and they were pretty good, but in my opinion not in the same league as the BATs. In fairness, the Rogues are alot less money though. It is entirely possible however that someone else, with a different system may prefer the Rogues. Different strokes. Oh, I also own a BAT D5, have for two years now, so I'm quite familiar with their customer service which I've found to be quite good.
I know both Mark O'Brien and Victor khomenko personally, and I am not comparing their personality or moral character, but as engineers who are measured by their success with their product. I am in a position to make a comment, especially one which relates to the fruits of their labors...namely, these amps. Next, I have owned two pair of Rogue M120s, the VK 500, VK 60, Used in the same system, with a Wadia front end, Aerial, Martin Logan and Magnapan speakers and all Nordost SPM and Quattro fil...I can tell you the differences. Yes, the BAT is more money, but you get what you pay for and in the case of BAT, that means excellent customer support, new tubes overnight, a great warranty and a low failure rate throughout the life of the product and the product line. When was the last time you checked with Madrigal Labs for a Levinson upgrade? How about Krell? Jeff Rowland?...Think about it: a ten year old piece of gear which you have derived much pleasure from, can be upgraded, not become obsolete, outdated, discontinued... The original Wadia D/A processor can still be brought up to current spec. Yes there is a cost, yes, it's expensive, but THIS is customer loyalty AND manufacturer loyalty if a piece of gear is still owned ten years from now, and the upgrades are still offered and the listener is still satisfied. Apples to apples, the VK 60 Monoblocks absolutely kill the M120's in every area of performance. Yes, the cost difference is great but only you, the listener, can decide if the sonic rewards merit the additional expense. Bottom line: whatever you do, audition BAT in addition to your other choices...you will like what you hear!
Sterling. I agree with you for the most part. The bat amps I have owned and heard are good. I have not had a chance to listen to the Rogue 120's to compare. The cost of the upgrade just miffed me a bit. I am now on a Kora Electronic Concept wagon as far as amps go. I am using the newer 50 watt Galaxy. I hope to add a second soon and strap them mono. I guess I would go as far as to say that it KILLS the Bat Vk-60. The reason I chose to answer the gentlemens question was because I have rolled many preamps over the last year and have found none that can touch Mark "O's Rogue 99 preamp. The finish is not as trick as the bat's I have had but it sounds like no other in my system. I saw this as an opportunity to praise Rogue and vent my dislike for companies like BAT that out source most of their products build up and then design revision after revision and gouge the customer that wants the update.
BTW Mark O' is building me a special phono board for the 99 I have and I told him in jest that he is "No Victor Komhenko". He laughed pretty hard so I don't think he will loose any sleep over it.
I do apologize to those guano lovers that I have offended.
Hello Cat, The point I think that is being misunderstood here is that the bat vk60se is not just an upgrade "it's a totally new product". I feel that bat is going out of their way for its previous loyal vk60 owners by offering the vk60se. Otherwise they would have to buy the 75se or the 150se at an even larger cost to keep up with the best bat has to offer. I don't think they should be begrudged for trying to do a good thing if anything they should be praised. You don't see ARC offering an upgrade for the VT200 to the REF series amps? But they do have ongoing upgrades to mk1, mk2, mk3 and each time the retail price goes up and up. This is something bat didn't do, the retail price stayed the same as far as I know from the beginning. They didn't announce a vk60mk1, vk602, or 3 as the years went by to make people feel like they needed to have the latest update. I hope this brings clarity to the viewpoint Sterling and I are trying to get across. I'm not offended if you like another design over the bat as no two people hear it the same way. I do feel think that you are way way of base by saying that bat is taking advantage of people by price gouging. Sonically they have repeatedly beat out competitors products costing up to and over twice as much to my ears. I urge people to make comparisons for themselves and trust their own ears. Regards, Tom
My dealer sells both BAT and Rogue and he has always made comments that have pushed me towards Rogue.Mark O.has a well designed business plan to offer hi-end performance audio gear that delivers true competition to the more expensive stuff.His advertising is is mostly word of mouth but he does have some ads in mags.that are obviously "budget" The cosmetics IMO are very nice but not fancy.When you buy a Rogue you buy the PERFORMANCE of some of the best audio hardware made.If some want to pay twice what Mark charges for similar performance,to each their own.Listener mag.recently reviewed the Rogue Tempest integrated and wrote a very brief "bio" of Mark.This guy has some mighty impressive back ground and education.I never knew before how qualified Mark really is.Before I bought my 99 I talked to many dealers.Some didnt even sell Rogue but I asked what they knew of Rogue anyway.The ones that did sell Rogue recommended Rogue over their "$better$" stuff.The ones that didnt sell Rogue commented (approx.50%) that if they carried Rogue it would hurt the sales of their higher priced stuff.The name of the game is money in their eyes.I'm glad my dealer was out to sell me the best he had without the need to make more from me by leading me towards the big buck stuff.
David99. I just received a special phono board for my 99 that Mark O'put together for me. He put a few fancier parts and sent me a full compliment of NOS GE's and Tung-Sols. It is as awesome sounding as the line stage. I talked to him at great lengths today and he is still laughing about the previous comment that he is no Victor Khomenko. As a professional he won't make a negative comment about a competitor. He is a real class act and seems to have fun building and talking about his wares. The guys at Kora are the same way. Just having fun in this crazy business. BTW I asked what it costs to have a set of 120's updated to "Magnum" status and he said they charge $1200. He defended BAT a little in the conversation because of the nature of these upgrades. He did not understand the extreme cost of the update that we have blathered about here. I guess it is just part of this low volume market. Well I will quit gobbing off here.
Yes catman,Mark is a class act.He has always bent over backwards to make my obsessive ass happy.When I first got my 99/phono I was concerned about the low level hiss from the phono stage.I sent the phono to him to check out and he found it to be very quiet(I was use to S.S.) but still found some quieter tubes for me at no extra cost.In hind sight the phono was very quiet.He just recently e-mailed me out of the blue to tell me he is sending me some NOS Russian 6SN7's to check out in the line-stage.He said if I like them to keep them for free,all he wants is a "Review" of them.Mark treats his customers like friends.Works for me!
Leafs,no I have never heard the M-120's.Right now they are a bit pricey for me.My Pass was a deal I couldnt resist.It had less then 50 hours on it,1 year old and it came from Jim Smith of Aventgarde USA.He used it for a couple shows then put it away for a year.I paid < $1000 ($2500) and so far I love it.It has a air and transparency about it that Im sure would be hard to beat.The bass is deep and tight also.I know the Aleph-3 is said to have crappy bass but not in my opinion.This may be superficial but I dont like the looks of the M-120's.If and when I go back to a tube amp I want an amp with killer looks and that shows the tubes in full glory.The sound of a good tube amp is hard to beat but the glow of the tubes at night just adds to the enjoyment IMO.If Im going to pay big bucks for a tube amp I want it all! No doubt the M-120's are awesome and my dealer keeps after me to get them.I am hoping and Im even going to suggest to Mark he put out a killer amp with a different cosmetic design than the M-120's.Sorry if my reasons are shallow but being a single parent makes it a little tough to come up with the money this hobby demands.As I said,when and if i go back to a tube amp I want it all.The Pass is no beauty but for a SS amp I like the looks better than many others.It sure gets a lot of comments from civilians! My sister thought it was a subwoofer and a recent date thought it was a air conditioner!!
Leafs, the 80 is a 3 way design.It has an aluminum dome tweeter,kevlar mid driver and a ? bass driver.I believe both are 7 inch.It has 2 sets of posts which I use with MIT T-2 biwires.I got into Paradigm early in my addiction and I had a 100% trade up on them(1 year) I started with the Titans then gradually over 3 years ended up with the 80's.I considered going next with the flagship 100's but I thought the bass would be too much for my room.The 80's are very smooth with terrific bass.They play nice and loud with my 30 wpc Aleph-3.They list for $1700.I got mine for $1000/floor demos.I think my system has gotten to a level where I should consider better speakers but I also want a new cartridge,conditioner,amp stand,power cords,CDP etc,etc..... fun hobby,huh!??