Best Buy Preamp SF 3SE or BAT50SE

Looking to move to a Tube Pre Amp from SS. I am leaning towards SF Line 3 but I am concerned about some reveiw saying SF preamps sound almost SS. Has anyone had any experence with the SF Line 3se. any comparason between that and BAT 50se. Any recommeded good dealers willing to work on line or good dealers in NY/NJ areas.
I recently purchase a SF Line 3 SE and Power 3 from Underwood Wally here on AudiogoN. Suggest you give him a call. I also checked out the BAT 50SE. Nice unit but will probably cost you twice as much as the Line 3 SE. To my ears there was a subtle difference in sound quality and that led me to the SF 3 SE.
I tried the SF and the synergy with my equipment was not there. I have found the BAT VK-50SE to be absolutely wonderful. Incredibly quiet, even by solid state standards, with great detail and very deep soundstage. It is also wonderfully musical.

I have had great dealings with Jim at Chambers Audio. He is a straight shooter and will definitely help you out. Tell him Jonathan told you to call him and he will give you his undivided attention. I spend a lot of money with him. His number is (425)454-2279.
I find these two to be chalk and cheese. The BAT is a lush tube sound that has a certain seductiveness that many find indispensable (I don't). The SF3 SE is much more neutral overall, but seems to be slightly robbed of life compared with a bypass - this however can probably be compensated for elsewhere in a system. Personally I don't go for the notion of throwing lots of money at a preamp, but that is another story.
I have yet to hear the BAT50SE, but decided against it mainly because it was less flexible and only accepts balanced in and out. The SF Line 3 SE has both balanced and single ended ins and outs. I also liked the incredibly beefy power supply,superb build quality,and overall feel of the unit. As for sound quality, I'd rank [the SE in particular] as being exceptionally neutral,but not to a's actually addicting in the way it let's you know all that's there without seeming analytical or distractingly excessive.I hate to sound like an ad for it, but I've found that it's the closest thing to SS precision, accuracy,detail and overall "competence" combined with a tubes' inherent naturalness. It needs plenty of break-in time(but don't let that scare you,it's just true) and if you really feel the need to add a little more "character",a good power cord(s) will make itself known in the mix. I've found the Harm.Tech AC11 has a very similar personality (see very neutral, w/added "roundness" and improved blackness between notes), while my Custom Power Cord Co.model 11 also improves much like the H/T,and adds just a touch of that warm aroma.As for dealers in the N.Y./N.J. area,I've had excellent service at Toys From the Attic (914-421-0069) (in White Plains - and worth the trip), tell Mario:"Grant says Hi".
Gbright, thanks for the feedback. I have heard the BAT 50SE and it sound great. I have also heard the SF3 but not the SF 3SE. I had hoped to hear it at the NY Audio show but SF did not demo it. Nor did any other manufactures use it to demo their equipment. This makes me wonder those the SF3 compete in the high end market with the BAT 50 SE, CJ and others. Because I have heard the SF3 se I am still on the fence on this one. Thanks again for your feed back.
Hello Lew4,I was also hoping to hear the SF Line 3SE configured with some new or other equipment but disappointed not to see it there. I was told by the Anthem room(SF's "entry level") that all's well at SF, they just decided to keep pushing their [more trendy]home theater stuff (that's dominated by their Anthem equip.). Someone told me Stereophile will be doing a review of the Line3SE for an upcoming issue this summer...I don't know if it'll be a whole new review or another "follow-up", but I'm pretty certain it's going to be very good(at least). I finally got to see the BAT VK50SE at the show, but the only application I saw was in the Avantgarde room which was not a good("first hand chance") to really discern its audio-only abilities.As for competing with the rest/the best,check out the SF website and look up "comparisons" to see how it stands up to one of its considerably more expensive rivals.I hope you can find a good place to listen to it sometime soon,it is worth the effort. Good luck.Regards