bat vk3ix OR bat vk32se PAIRING bat vk55

staring to move from my BAT vk300x to PRE-POWER and would really appreciate some advise on which of the above combination is better.

aware that the 2 preamps are of different price category but have read that the vk3ix is sweeter ect...and not exactly CAN/SHOULD be compared to vk32se. In short they are different class hence wondering if it makes sense comparing. Further, the bat vk55 is the max i can afford now hence wld decide on that as a fixed option as power amp.

Definitely would appreciate the ideas of tube swapping in the preamps and aware that 32se despite presence of 6H30, allows for swapping as well (without change of any circuit board...or am i mistaken)

My CDP is MARANTZ CD15 and SPEAKERS are Vandersteen 2CEsig2

any comparision is appreciated. : )

and yes, the 32se/55 pairing cost 3000usd MORE than the 3ix/55 pairing this increase worth it?
I seriously doubt it. I borrowed a friends VK55 or should I say an extended loan (2 months). I paired it with a VK5i with NOS tubes. This combo was the most musical my system has ever been. I have never heard the VK3ix or 32SE but $3000 difference it better cook, clean, and service me for that much ;)

I own the VK3iX and have it paired to a Mcintosh MC275. I have changed the tubes in both my pre and amp, both were significant upgrades. I havent heard a VK32 or the VK55 but have had the Vk300xSE in my system. I originaly was comparing the 300xSE to the VK3iX paired with a Bryston 2BSST. At that time i felt the seperates where about par with the 300xSE albeit not as refined or as solid in the bass. I dont listen loud so the extra headroom that the integrated would of had was not necessary in addition to the price difference. I have since moved on to the MC275 and I love what i hear. To my ears it flat out beats the 300xSE in every way. Prior to purchasing the Bryston i had spoke with Victor at BAT and he stated that one should expect an increase in quality with seperates due to the fact that one power supply is not powering two sections, like it is in the 300xSE. I have heard the BAT tube amps can be more analytical/linear than say my MC275. I have always wanted to hear a VK55 to see how it compares to the MC275 since they are in the same area of price. At this moment I feel a Vk3iX and a Vk55(if it is anything like the MC275) would be amazing. Sterophile recommends the pairing.
I have a VK-3iX with all the upgrades, except 6H30s. I found that replacing the stock 6V6GTs with a pair of NOS tubes yielded substantial sonic improvement. It is an inexpensive way to upgrade your VK-3iX.
So Stereophile recommends: - VK3ix with Vk55 - makes sense, they are both in the same class.

To pair VK32SE with Vk55 seems like getting a mismatch? much better PRE for a entry level POWER....yet USD 3,000 more in price...

I am still quite confused about which pairing allows more flexible TUBE SWAPPING?
Call BAT and ask. They are very helpful.

I read that review and I kind of feel like they do (believe it or not). If you want a combo that makes good music be happy with it and forget about it. If you think you might upgrade to a Vk75 or 75SE later then maybe go for the better preamp if you can afford it. Make sure the rest of your system is up to snuff also like IC's, powercords, etc...One of the best additions I made to my system believe it or not was a Running Springs Haley. It really brought everything into focus.

Bottom line is in my opinion how much do you listen and can afford. Do you feel good about your purchases? My honest opinion is the 3ix/55 combo will be a great one. My 55/5i sounded wonderful.
I have a BAT VK32 and VK75. Neither are SE's. You can't tube roll in the SE's (as I understand it). To my ear, the non-SE's are much preferable to the SE's because BATs seem to work great for tube rolling, and NOS tubes, for most of us, sound better. Plus, many of us don't care for the 6H30 tube which is part of the SE upgrade. The 6H30's make the gear sound less tubey. Perhaps I'm nuts, but it seems to me that the reason to use tube gear is to enjoy some of the warmth and musicality that tubes can bring to hi-fi.

To clear up the confusion, you most certainly can tube roll in the 32se. Not only with brands, NOS etc. but also with the type of tubes.


Regarding the 3ix vs. 32se .... I would imagine that most would find the 32se to be the better sounding preamp paired with the VK-55 and it would not be a sonic mismatch in any way. Whether or not the improvement in sound is worth the extra $$$ is something that only the individual user can answer for themselves.

Also wanted to point out that the 32se is more flexible than the 3ix in tailoring the sound to one's taste and system with different tube choices. Hope this helps.

All the best,


tis is new to me. why is the 32se more flexible than 3ix in tailoring the sound?

my current vk300x - i have tried to tube rolled and found that the tube socket starts to be a little tinny bit loosen after a while. i hope the 32se would be more durable when it comes to tube rolling....

appreicate some input to my above...

Hi Art,

One of the specific design features in all of the latest BAT preamps was to enable the user to customise the sound to their taste and system through different tube choices. I figure they can explain it better than I can

so here's the link :

Art, have you actually heard the VK-55 drive your speakers?
To my taste and on the right speaker my choice would be to have the VK-55 with the 32se or the 3ix, I'm just not sure the Vandy 2CEsig2 is that speaker. The Bat VK-300x is an awfully good integrated and overall may do a better job of driving your speakers.

BTW, the "SE" version of any BAT component (at least to me) sounds more accurate, transparent, dynamic, with more truthful timbre. YMMV

Good luck,

Dont discount the SS BAT 42SE. I am auditioning one now and its been very nice. Better than the BAT 31SE I owned in the past.
solid state BAT ... hmmm it seems that the bat house sound does not only come from tubes then...all their gears showcase those fantastic tubes ...which shld be the prima donna of their selection ... right?

I own both the Vk-3ix and the VK-55. The speakers are Zu Druids (101 dB efficiency). What I found the 3ix do is to create a massive sound field extending left to right and front to back. More of the recording hall was fleshed out as well as rock solid focus of instruments.

After talking to BAT, I will upgrade to the SE version of this piece.
Hi Art,

Both solid-state and tubes got their "thang". BAT wants to market and sell to both camps. Ask Victor what he's using in his system and that will tell you where his personal preferences lie.


What does he use?
Hi Sam,

Check to be sure, but the last I heard ..... REX/VK150se driving Avantegarde Trio's

Oh is that Must be nice to have what, $33K for amp and pre ;)