you know, many audiofreaks dream about all-BAT system like myself for example :)
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I also have a VK-60 and was considering one of the BAT pre's, with your budget I would go with the 5i, keeping in mind you have a digital source with true balanced outputs. If your CD player/pre only has single ended(RCA) outputs you need to use adaptor cables which is less then optimal, but it is a good idea to think ahead a bit. That is to say if you see yourself stepping up to say a Resolution audio CD-50(or 55) go with a pre that has balanced outputs and in the mean time use those lame adaptors. If you plan on using single ended and at the last moment going to balanced(just into the amp) I would recomend the VK-30(which has both single ended and balanced inputs/outputs, and a phone stage to boot!), but sonically it is sort of audio law that the VK-5i sounds better then the VK-30, also the 5i is upgradeable to a SE model which is suppose to be amazing for the money. Just for the record do you have a Rega Planet or a Planet 2000? Either way I feel the synergy between a good BAT pre and a good BAT amp is amazing for the $$$$. Considering your price range, I think BAT is one of the only logical high end products you should consider for this, they are hard to beat(ie nothing comes close for the same money, and I do mean nothing). If a fellow GoN member was not giving me a smoking deal on an Accuphase pre, I would be purchasing a 5i this weekend! I was in the same delema you where in, a few months back. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
I have an all BAT system. If you're just running a cd player you can use a passive Pre into the vk-60's. I have the BAT vk5d, 5se and vk60 monos. Bypassing the 5se causes no deterioration in sound using the EVS attenuators. The vk5i has a nice midrange, but the bass is soft. Upgrading the vk5i for $2000 just isn't cost effective. You'd be better off jumping for a better cd player. My 2 bits.
Hi, I have the VK30-SE and am amazed at the great sound. I don't know how it compares w/the 5i or 5iSE sonically, but functionally it has an LED read-out and volume matching between sources that I find extremely useful. I have not heard that the 5i sounds better than the newer 30 and 30SE; just the opposite, but as I said I have not done the comparison myself. I have seen VK30SE's for sale here for below $3000, which is a great price, but I guess outside your price range.
S2k_dude I asked this question along time ago(not even seen in the "my resent threads" section), and the majority of the people felt the 5i is a better performer then the 30, not sure about the 30se though. It has been a while and I could be mistaken but I don't believe so, my memory is not as good as it once was. I don't think you can go wrong either way! there both great products. If you plan on using an analog source the VK-30/se would be the most cost effective way to go. Judging by the coments made maybe I have things backwards, I will try to search through my threads and I will post a link to when I asked this question(I think it was close to a year ago) so you can see some other responses.
Congratulations, it's a great amp and it's a very good match for your speakers.
1. According to old discussion on audioasylum vk5i is much better than vk30 and some people prefer vk30se over vk5i and some not,especially with upgraded tubes.Run search in general asylum for 5i and 30Se and read yourself.
2.I'm sure you will be happy with either of these preamps. Whatever you choose, the limitation in your system will be your CD player.Start saving for BAT. ;-)
3.FYI, upgrade from vk5i to vk5se cost $2000.Tube rolling in the 5i is not cheap either.
4. If you are planning to buy used, then vk5i is much better deal. They go for under $2000 with remote,often even with NOS tubes. If you decide to stretch your budget to around $3,000 I would suggest to look around for a good deal(maybe demo model) on vk30SE form authorized dealer. 5 year BAT warranty is not transferable.
BTW,My rig is all BAT vkP5,vkD5se -> vk5i -> vk60 monos. Sounds great.
Good luck with your search.
I also have an all BAT system - D5SE, 30SE, and stereo 60.
You can't really go wrong with a BAT preamp! The 30SE gives a little more flexibility than a 5i 'cause it has some single ended connections. Though I've not done a direct comparison to a 5i w/30SE, the sound of a 30SE is absolutely fabulous. Lately, 30SE's have come down in price here on A'gon so if you can find the extra money, you won't be disappointed.
Thanks for all the great advice. I actually got my VK-60 now and listened to it for a while and since then I have a big smile on my face. It's sooo much better compared to that SS integrated (which is still working as pre amp, though). So much more musical, so much more enjoyable. Guess, I've become tube lover thanks to all you A'goners (was always reading the tubes vs. SS threads and became curious). The system is still not perfect, though, but I keep looking for a nice pre amp and eventually I will dump the Rega as well. Concerning the pre I will narrow it down to the 5i or the 30SE - and I still keep the Pass Aleph P in mind. From what I heard it's a more than excellent pre and usually comes at a very reasonable price (especially in comparison to the 30SE). So, if you have to sell one... (not that I want to disregard all that good advice that was given to me). Thanks again.