BAT VK500 upgrade struggles


Before I begin let me describe my current system setup

BAT VK500 with BAT/PAK
CJ PV10A (With new Mullard tubes)
Ah Njoe Tjoeb 4000 with Upsampler
Vienna Acoustics Bachs
Tara Labs RSC Prime 1000 Interconnects

A couple of weeks ago I got my new (used) BAT VK500. I was immediatley impressed with its detail,openess and control. Unfortunatley it was also bright and harsh. My local dealer loaned me a pair of Tara Labs RSC cables and that has helped quite a bit. The last issue I'm struggling with is that my system sounds "hard". It sounds very clean and lean but there is none of the lushness that I had before.
My previous amp was a Sonographe SA 400. Any thoughts on what I can do to "soften" up the sound a bit? I'm really confused. Someone suggested that the BAT is just overwhelming my pre-amp and I need to upgrade? Any thoughts?

CJ SS amps are known to be mellower or more tube sounding than some tube amps. Most likely, you will not be able to get the same sound back, unless you ditch the BAT. Sorry, but there is not a more softer or darker sounding gear than a CJ preamp and a CJ amp. Maybe some other audiogoners have a better solution. The amp is definetly what you are not liking.
This is a classic sitution where you are realizing what type of sound you actually like. Most people fall into 2 catergories: warm or cool. You are of the warm camp, along with CJ, McIntosh, and Rowland mainly, and most tube amps. You will have to return to the warm camp since you apparently don't like the cool one! I am the same as you.

I suggest you get somthing from what I mentioned above. For the price of the VK-500, you can get a McIntosh MC352. It will have exactly what you are looking for. Trust me, I have been down this road already. Take care and have fun experimenting! Arthur
I agree with Bemopti123. The bright problem started with the BAT amp, you could try band-aids like MIT cables and/or Shunyata power cords. However, I would recommend switching to a amp more suited to your tastes. Your speakers and preamp say that you prefer a warmer than neutral sound. You may want to try a Classe amp if solid state, or maybe even a tube amp.

Good luck,
I agree, Classe is another possibility. I have noticed in my amp swapping that higher power amps of one brand lose some "lushness" compared to lower powered ones of the same brand. That is somewhat the idea behind SET amp magic too but it's very true for SS if both amps use the same basic circuits. Good luck!
I've never heard anyone EVER describe the BAT VK500 as bright and harsh. Never. However, you do seem to like things warm...One, are you sure the VK500 is broken in? How long did the previous owner have it? 2) leave it on for a few days, fully powered up, and see if it should. 3) Do you have it properly powered from the wall? It needs lot's a current, and if it's on ac circuit that ton's of other stuff is on, it may effect it some. All this will make some change, but not "night and day"

Also, better electronics can expose something, you may be hearing your source finally. I know your cd player is a great value for the money, but your amp, pre and speakers are ahead of it...sonically. It all starts at the source.
JFRENCH has some good points. I would re-read his post closely and step by step. I notice a lot of 'goners seem to insert gear as if they are trying on clothes in a department store. No offense intended. I think that after all the research we do to buy the right components for our systems, we should give our systems time to settle in and gel. Be patient. There is no other rational way to come to any meaningful conclusions.

Also, if you feel you have the best components you can buy at this time, then its time to re-evaluate your setup.

I have a "feeling" that when you introduce better pieces in the chain, they tend to be more sensitive to power, isolation and racks. What is your amp sitting on? Can you put the amp on a separate circuit thats not necessarily dedicated at least? Perhaps you are now hearing "more" and need to isolate your tube cd player better now. Lastly, start fooling around with different cables. The best I have heard that are good in many systems are the Wireworld 3+ speaker cables and Eclipse copper ic's. These are incredibly detailed and smooth but not un-naturally so. They have transformed my listening experience at home and not for too much money either. They are top notch. I'm sure there are others.

I also want to mention that I own a pair of the vk1000 monos. I have had them in my evolving system for almost 5 years. Here are some observations:

They are more neutral than you think. I used to think they were dark,etched, and closed different times. I learned it was the combination of cables and components. They are smooth, detailed, powerful, and capable of showing very faint subtle details.

These amps sound best when running very warm to hot. I do not suggest you keep this amp unless you are able to leave it on all the time. It seems to take days to regain its full character and relaxed nature if I turn it off.

I do not own any special power cords or dedicated lines for my amps and I'm amazed daily at what my system allows me to hear.

Try also to put your amps on a wood stand of any type. My amps sit on a hand made stand with rollers which sits on carpet thats layed over a hardwood floor. This brought a more mellow and cohesive sound immediately.

I believe your amp search could be over for a very long time. Take the time to live with it. Unfortunately, the BAT won't hide your other components from you.

Good luck.
You should hear the Conrad Johnson 2500A amp. It sounds unbelievable. Its sounds like a tube amp but with nice detail. I'm using the 2500A and Krell KBL preamp on the JM Lab 920.1 speakers. What a combo.
What about using a different set of tubes in the CD unit to alter the sound?
First off let me thank everyone for there help and
suggestions. I really appreciate the advice. The same
day I posted my question I came home and turned on my
system for my usual evening listening. WOW! Something
must have broke in since it sounds a lot less bright
and hard. The amp sounds almost mellow now. The difference
is not subtle at all. It is now a completly different amp.
People are not kidding when they talk about this "break-in"

I do have one last question. How does the BAT VK500 stack
up to a CJ MF2500A or a McCormack DNA 225? The reason I
ask is that these were my two original contenders. The
BAT just happened to be there when I was shopping for a
amp and my dealer made me a great deal on it. In hindsight
I should have taken more time to really think this over.
Not that that I am unhappy with it but I do have a few concerns about the size and heat. It pumps out a lot of heat. I just keep wondering whether or not I made the best choice.

The VK500 is a veritable MONSTER, in comparison to the two amps you have stated. I have the DNA 225, it is heavy, but nowhere near the BAT. It is a very different design and approach. If I am not wrong, the BAT runs near or at CLASS A, while the DNA does not, it does not even get mildly hot, in all the times I have use it. I can say that the CJ is mellower than the 225, not to say that the DNA is known to have a mellow sound. Now that your amp is sitting more fittingly with your system, if I were you, I would not consider doing anything, just enjoying the set up. Think about packing your leviathon to be delivered elsewhere.