First Sound please.

I am considering this preamp as a possible next purchase. This pre would replace my current BAT vk-50se which I have had for about 15 months.

I heard the Deluxe model at a dealer once and was amazed at the sound his system produced. But I was also unfamiliar with the other components I was hearing .

I am looking for a preamp, preferably balanced that can be powerful and full when called upon and also produce very fine detail and nuance with ease.

Personal reviews are really what I am looking for.

Soundstage did a review of the Presence Dlx. The Paramount is my favorite of the First Sound Preamps. The only other preamp I have found that is as good but has different characteristics is the Red Rose Silver signature.

The First Sound paints a totally black, dead quiet, canvas for you to hear everything there is to hear on the disc. Very holographic soundstage. Tremendous control of the bottom end, with amazing pace and dynamics, with wonderful layering and still retains the seductiveness and bloom of tubes. The parts quality is amazing!

They come single ended only. No remote!
I think that First Sound has battery powered preamps. My feeling is that battery is the way to go. I use battery on my (low)power amp, and my turntable. Working on modding the pre for battery power. With all the problems associated with the street power, going battery takes care of it at the source. And eliminates the need for transformers and rectifiers in the component's power supply, to boot. I'd recommend going with the battery supplied unit.
I really like my First Sound preamp and highly recommend it, however I have never heard the BAT vk-50se, there for I don't know how it would compare.
FYI. Make sure the FS's output is compatible with your amp. I wanted to audition one, but it's power output was too low to be very effective with my amp.
How does one make sure that amps and preamps mate well together. What specs should one look at.

All preamps output different voltages. Ask your amp manufacturer (or check your manual) to see if they specify certain maximum/minimum input voltages to work ideally with your amp. There could be an issue if your amp's input sensitivity is low and the preamp outputs low voltage. You will probably be able to listen to music at lower levels, but may not be able to take advantage of your amps power and listen at loud levels. You could turn the volume all the way up and it wouldn't be as loud as you'd like. The opposite is true too...a sensitive amp and high voltage outputs on a preamp could mean that you'll never be able to turn your volume control past the 9 O'clock point. It all comes down to listening preferences and convenience. If I remember correctly, the First Sound's output is on the low side. They would probably mate well with most amps, but my amp happens to be a low sensitivity design and the output of the First Sound was lower than my amp manufacturer's recommended input voltage. It may not be an issue for you at all, but I figured I'd mention it...just in case. That said...I was dying to audition one. They appear to be great tube preamps.
I love mine. I have used it with a VAC Ren. 30/30 and now with a Berning ZH270. Low output has never been a problem in my system. If you are concerned, email Emmanuel at FS and ask him his opinion. He his a nice fellow and will be glad to help.

Good luck,
It's an amazing preamp - quiet, black background, nuanced, musical, powerful. No remote. I'm not familier with the BAT preamp but the FS MkII deluxe is the best I've personally tried in my home.
The Presence preamp circuit was designed by Paul Weitzel of Tube Research Labs for Emmanual Go, the owner of Presence.

The First Sound pre-amps are passive, no batteries required. Feel free to email me with questions.

Hope this helps,
We have a lot of wrong info flying around here! The recent FS preamps are not passive and do not use batteries. Early FS preamps were passive. I was thrilled when they offered the gain type series of preamps that we are discussing in this thread. Like the early passive units, these preamps are charachterized by their purist approach with superb parts and attenuators. Unlike the passive units they have an extrodinary power supply design and posess more energy storage capacity than most 200 watt power amps. There may be other preamps that are its' match for tonal balance, but I have not heard one that can match the FS's macro and micro dynamic capabilities....and I have heard many different preamps over the years. Soundstaging is state of the art as well. Be warned that the rest of your system must be right to get the full capabilities of the FS preamps. This is one of those rare components that you can build your system around. Enjoy the journey!