I currently have a Balanced Audio Technology VK-200 amp. The amp sounds very good hooked up to the pre-out of a Rogue hybrid integrated Wanting to push the envelope a bit further, I am carefully looking for a pre-amp that is going to have a synergy or compatibility with the BAT amp.
There is a BAT VK31SE for sale which was upgraded in 2003 from a BAT VK30. I have also seen on AG a Conrad Johnson 18LS (solid state) pre-amp line stage, It looks very clean and has a remote, but has only RCA inputs and outputs, but no XLR connections. (BTW, the BAT units is offered with remote control and a phono stage, and is fully balanced. I operate VK-200 amp using the pre-out of the Rogue integrated by using XLR (male) to RCA made by Signal Audio)
I read a review in Hi-FI+ of the CJ- ET-3 which offered high praise for the pre-amp's sound quality across the board The reviewer Alan Sircom's reviews often seem (to me )overly enthusiastic Nevertheless, I called CJ and they still have parts of the ET3, and claimed that CJ considered it one of their finest SS pre-amps.
Let me cut the issue, the BAT VK-31SE currently on sale has some front panel "glitches" which makes it operation almost totally dependent on its remote. This may be consequence of two owners. I don't know. However, I don't want down the line to ship the unit 3000 miles back to BAT for repair
Initially, It may seen like a "no brainer" to choose the BAT over the CJ because it is the same brand as the amp. However, the CJ is less money and probably I could negotiate the price $300 less. Obviously, I would need to buy a outboard phono stage equivalent to the phono stage of the Rogue integrated amp.
Therefore, has anyone had experience with the CJ ET3 pre-amp??. If so, is it as good as claimed. BTW, the CJ-ET-3 SE is "supposedly" better sounding than original ET-3. Jeff Dorgay reviewed it for Tone magazine. All comments welcomed. Thank you