well, i decided to get the BAT.
basically, once i had it in my system, i just couldn't let it go. i love the open natural sound and incredible soundstaging that the vk-75 throws through my avalons. i really liked the ARC tho i never had a chance to hear it in my system...but that extra 25 watts woulda been nice.
in the end, some practical considerations came into play. first, the ARC woulda cost me at least $500 more. second the ARC would have been at least twice as expensive to retube (abe - the BAT has half as many tubes as the ARC) and (i think) requires biasing, which the auto-biasing BAT does not. third, and least importantly, i prefer the cool open styling of the BAT - it looks amazing at night. :)
i am now shopping for some good but inexpensive balanced ICs. i intend to run fully balanced from CD player to preamp to amp. any suggestions?
thnks again for your input.