Why not to cosider a BAT preamp?
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My dealer in Dallas is running a Hovland into a VK75SE hooked up to Wilson Sophia's. I thought it sounded great.
I have a vk50se/vk60 combo. I'd think the easy/safe decision is to go with a BAT preamp...mix n match will always get you different sound, only sometimes better. Depends on your tastes...sorry I can't directly help more.
I agree again that a BAT pre would be better then most other for similar money. I used an Accuphase DC-300 pre going to my VK-60, I tried both balanced and single ended out into the VK-60(using those little adaptors that plug into the back of the amp XLR's) I found that as long as a product is truly balanced(ala BAT, some Accuphase-mine was balanced) it sounds better balanced. The BAT web page covers this in there FAQ section I believe check it out www.balanced.com
This would be a no brainer. You need a BAT preamp.
I've got two systems, BAT VK3i pre in one and a VK50SE in the other. Formerly an Audio Research fan, and recently demo'd an LS16 as a possible replacement for the VK3i, however there was no comparison in my situation. I find even the lower-end BAT gear to be a great value compared to the offerings of others. Some need flashy chrome and stuff, for me the industrial look works well, and the sound is right.
My BAT VK30 doesn't look too offensive to me, neither does my BAT VK500 amp. Rather handsome IMHO. I absolutely love BAT products. Now, why do they use those f%#%g hex screws? What a pain in the neck to remove 'em when you wanna roll your tubes. Two of 'em just wouldn't come out and the heads stripped ridiculously easily. Shouldn't have to use pliers to remove screws. And, if you insist on using them, then countersink 'em so they at least look professional. I'm gonna go kick something hard.