BAT VK-60se vs Atma-Sphere M60 mkIII

I am considering buying a second tube amp system and am interested to know if anyone has a direct opinion/comparison for the BAT VK-60se amp vs the Atma-Sphere M60 mkIII amp.

The preamp will be the BAT VK-31 with superpack (not se version).

Speakers are Avalanon Eidolons.

I have read great things about both amps - am not able to conduct a trial - it will be one or the other.

The Atma-Sphere M-60 is a great amp and I would recommend it, but not for the Avalon Eidolon speakers. For the Eidolons, you need to consider the Atma-Sphere MA-1 or MA-2. The M-60 will not match well to the 4 ohm nominal (3.6 ohm minimum) impedance of the Eidolons.

I run Eidolons with Atma-Sphere, but with the MA-2. This is a marvelous combination.

The BAT 60 watt amp similarly will be underpowered for the Eidolon, but with different sets of issues.
Rushton, always enjoy reading your responses. Do you have any speaker recommendations for the M-60?
Thanks Rushton,

I already own the Eidolon's and run with ARC Ref 210s.

Have been thinking about switching some things around - for the M60s, would smaller speakers - 8 ohms be more appropriate?
One of the great combos with the Atma-sphere M60s is the Merlin VSMs. My feeling is that if an OTL is matched with a speaker that works well with OTL it is pretty hard to beat with transformer coupled tube amps.
Ehein324, since you have Eidolons, I'd encourage you to consider whether you can step up to a pair of used Atma-Sphere MA-1 amplifiers. In my opinion, there's not much out there that will be able to match the results you'll obtain with that combination of speaker and amp. It will vastly exceed what you're hearing today.

Hi Wireless, thanks for your kind comment. I agree with Pubul57 that the Merlins are a good match, although the MA-1 with a bit more power is an even better match with the Merlins. The Merlins continue to be a favorite speaker for me, after the Eidolon. The Merlins do so much so incredibly well.

To answer your specific question about speakers that will match well to the M-60, the thing to watch for is a smooth impedance curve of 8 ohms or greater, with no big dips. The Merlins are a good impedance load, and they will sound really good with an M-60 (as Pubul57 says), but in my experience the Merlins will really shine if you can give them a bit more power. Other good matches for Atma-Sphere m-60s include Coincident, early Quads, Spendor, Harbeth (a bit low sensitivity however), Talon, Vandersteen, most horn speakers, and I'm sure others. Look for 8 ohms or above nominal impedance with minimum impedance of 6 ohms or greater, and 89db or greater sensitivity. These parameters are likely to give a good match to the M-60.

Many people will recommend the Zero autoformer as an after-market addition to ameliorate the impedance issue, but I find one loses transparency with them.
I have Atma-sphere M60MKIIIs driving Merlin VSMs. I'm using an Atma-sphere MP3 pre-amp. I tried a BAT VK-3I for approx. two weeks and did not like the was too dry as far as the line stage was concerned. Phono stage was awesome but that was with my AR turntable. I would not recommend a BAT pre-amp with the M60s.
As far as speaker recommendations I second the Merlin VSMs and the Coincident Technologies speakers. And definitely no zero autoformers.
I am using ACI Jaguar 2000's with M60 Mk III's. The 6.5 ohm minimum impedance with 8 ohms nominal on these speakers is a great fit with the amps.

I have been an ACI fan since the Sapphire III opened my eyes to real fidelity in reproduction. They make an excellent product.
6.5 ohm minimum impedance with 8 ohms nominal also happens to be the Merlin VSMs specs - again, match OTLs with the right speakers and I think you will have a very good result.
If you email Ralph he'll recommend some manufacturers that work well. I know Audiokinesis will be on his list and Duke is a super great guy.
You might also consider Coincident for the M-60's.

As for the MA-1's...I have a pair of Mk III's and absolutely love them. Mine are currently mated with Vandersteen 5A's and it is the best I have heard the 5A's sound. This combo produces all the details and texture that the music has to offer while enveloping you in the music.

I did try the Zero's with the MA-1's in a different setup (Emerald Physics CS2's). While it tightened up the bass, it did indeed cast a haze over the sound that I ultimately couldn't live with.


Go for the Atma-Shere M60's. No brainer....