Is it the tube pre or the rca/xlr adapter?

HELP! I've recently added a vk-50se, only my second tube component I have ever owned, and a Classe CA301 to my system. Speakers are Aerial 10T's. I am feeding the signal from my 834P with XLO single ended cables plugging into rca/xlr adapters at the pre. It seems that I have lost some details in the music that were there with my old Rotel pre with the same phono setup. BTW, I really like what the bat did for the sound of CDs, but I would prefer to improve the sound from my LPs.

I have tried moving the pre-amp to its own spiked amp stand and it did not make much difference.

I am guessing there is about 100 hrs. on the bat based on what the previous owner told me and the hours I have put on it. The 301 has about 70 hrs on it.

Do you guys with more experience think that it could be the rca/xlr adapters holding the signal back or do things need to burn in some more or do I need to play with placement, etc?



I was listening tonight and one channel dropped out. The last time this happened I checked all of the IC connections and after this showed no solution, I disconnected all 4 leads from the cartridge. After re-connecting these both channels worked fine. Well, I tried this tonight and broke one of the cartridge lead wires! Sometimes life just sucks!
I don't know what the cartridge is, that you are using, but loading has a significant impact on Moving Coil cartridges. It may need a different load than the one that is selected on your BAT.

I hope you can get your cartridge leads fixed, so you can get back to your other problems.

Life does suck sometimes.
The BAT adaptors are better than many others on the market but I found they degrade the sound in comparison to using balanced cables. The BAT pre also needs to warm up for at least a half hour before serious listening. You might want to burn in your system with that few hours it would probably sound better after some significant playing time.
What tubes are inside the preamp? You are listening to the tubes as well as the preamp. Don't assume the preamp is performing its best.
Hope you solve your channel problem.

After you get that fixed, you need to break in your equipment, especialy the BAT stuff for another 300 hours. At least. This stuff takes a lifetime to break in. I had a VK30se & it took a long time and the change for me was significant.

Try calling BAT. They were very helpful with me.

Good luck.
Thanks for the suggestions! I do like the overall sound that I am getting. Cymbol rolls are crisp and you can really hear them ring. The LF is not what I am used to from a solid pre, but I don't need to hear the foundation vibrate. Imaging is much more pronounced and deeper now. Before my mishap last night I was trying to put my finger on just what it was that I wasn't hearing. I was listening to Aja and it seemed that most of the consonants weren't there. So I guess the detail I think I'm missing is in the mid-range frequencies. Based on some of your comments I'll give everything some more time to burn in. I haven't popped the hood and checked which tubes are installed. I assumed they are the BAT 6H30's since the unit is almost new. I will double check. I failed to mention before but I'm connecting the Classe with a 1M pair of Quattro Fils. Yeah, I have replaced the whole mid-section of my system all at once and now I realize that I probably should give it some time.

Twl, my TT is a MMF 7 and the previous owner mounted a Shure v15vxmr. I can't remember the specs right off hand but I think it matched well enough with the 834P's load. I checked some of Thorsten's posts on the Asylum and found that he recommended that the 834 drive 100KOhms or higher. The BAT input is right at 100K. What gets me is that this analog front end seemed very revealing on my old solid pre, that's what led to my first post. I do realize, however, that I am now trying to play at a much higher level quality wise with equipment that is not as forgiving if there are weak links in the system.

I have sent Roy an email about getting a new wiring harness. I don't know if that will solve the recurring channel loss problem, but it will sure solve the channel loss I have now!
Is there bypass input in your preamp?
I'd recommend to use no preamp in your case. EAR834P has a volume controll so why'd you need another one?
If you talk to BAT, Viktor may implement for you an upgrade for having pass-through (passive) input.

My 834P is not the Signature model. It has no volome pot, just the MC stepups. I may get the 834P caps modded in the future and perhaps I could add balanced outputs at that time if that can be added and if the cost is not prohibitive.
This comment is limited to the adaptor question. I have a Lamm LP2 phono amp, single ended outputs only, and a Rowland Synergy IIi preamp, balanced inputs and outputs only. I directly compared two pairs of Purist Dominus cables between them, RCA cable terminations with both BAT and Rowland RCA/XLR converters at the preamp inputs, and XLR cables with an RCA/XLR Cardas adaptor at the output to the phono amp. The latter was noticeably clearer. Cardas connectors better? Balanced cables better? Adaptor doing less harm at the phono amp output than at the preamp input? Got me, but these are the facts, man.
Why are you using the balanced adapters? If you are going into the BAT with single ended, there is no need to use balanced outs from the EAR. That is simply running through a line balancing transformer and adapters for no good reason. Just run single ended on both ends. There is no inherent advantage to running balanced cables, unless the equipment is designed with balanced internal circuitry, and even then you have to have both units being balanced and the correct cables with balanced connections on both ends. I'd run normal single ended RCA plugs on both ends.

The BAT, more specifically the vk50se, does not have any single ended inputs or outputs, so I am now using the adapters at the BAT input to change from the RCA-ended cables from the 834P to the balanced inputs on the BAT. Sorry if I didn't explain things clearly.

834P -> XLO single ended -> rca2xlr adapter -> BAT input

But your point about the balanced components is well taken. Assuming that I will keep the BAT pre-amp for quite a while I should plan on finding another phono stage that is balanced. I orginally planned to upgrade the TT and use the 834P. I may have to rethink the ordering of my upgrades.
Transfering from unbalanced to balanced often reduces nearly the normal input impedance of the next component hence the cut-off of the high freequencies may take place especially having in mind already high output impedance of EAR phonostage.