since the ARC you have is definitely not tubey, the 75SE should be your choice. much better bass and extension.
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You mentioned that you like a "tubey" sound. By purchasing the SE version you will be restricted to the sound of the 6H30(6H30P, 6H30P-DR/EV/EB) tube, which I've never heard described as "tubey". If you were to opt for the VK-75, you would have a plethora of alternatives, IE: NOS RCA VT-231, black plates/Raytheon VT-231, flat black plates/National Union VT-231(all 40's bottom getters) which all have a warmer, "tubier" presentation(which is why I didn't keep them in my amps) while still delivering excellent imaging, dynamics, bass extension, detail and timbre(without glare or stridency). Here are some other options/descriptions from the 6SN7 family of tubes: (http://home.att.net/~chimeraone/6sn7sound.html)
Rodman's advice sounds particularly good in your case as you seem to be a man who knows exactly what he's looking for sonically. I'm a new convert to tube exploration and I couldn't be happier that I'm finally on board. Components are now gelling in ways that I wasn't achieving through other system changes.
From my experience I can tell you that the treble of the VK-75se will be more extended, detailed, have more air and be less forward in nature then the VK-75. I feel these qualities make the 75se "less" fatiguing.
Also, the bass will be more defined and extend lower with the 75se. Dynamics, yet another area of performance the SE has over the non-SE.
The VK-75 will have a fatter, plumper more forward mid-range. I know for some this character can suit their tastes and systems. If that's what you are looking for I think the VK75 may be more to your liking.
IMO (as you can tell) I hear the VK75se as being the more accurate better machine and just on another level of fidelity. No offense meant to others, but I don't think any amount of tube rolling is ever going to change that.
I had the pleasure of listening to the M30s and VK55 and VK75 at a dealer.
I find either amps can drive the M30s well. The VK75 with its larger power has more control compared to the VK55.
Neither will sound bright but i find it at times a bit too warm for my taste.
In the end, i did not pursue the BAT route.
However i have read some guys at the forum mating the VK75 well with the Harbeth SHL5s. that might be a different story all together as the SHL5s are more extended and detailed compared to the flatter M30s.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for everyones' comments.
Nolitan, do you recall if you were listening to the VK75SE or the VK75 with the M30's. Do you own the M30's? If so, what do you like?
At this point in my listening life, for whatever reason, what seems "too warm" for most people seems about right for me.
Tom, your comments are well detailed, and I appreciate that. I wouldn't have expected the VK75 (non-SE) to be "forward" and that concerns me, because sometimes that means "fatiguing". And, indeed, that seems to be your concern about the non-SE version.