Looking for a new preamp


Good afternoon,

It has been awhile since I've posted anything here, but I do have a preamp question.  I currently have an Aragon 28k mk2 pre along with an Aragon 8008 mk2 amp.  Both my source and amp are balanced but the 28k is not.  I think the Aragon pre is a nice, but I think I can do better.  I tried an ARC LS17SE pre a few years back, and although this is a nice piece, it didn't seem to work well with the 8008. I believe the impedance was a mismatch.  This was confirmed by ARC as well.  I would like to try this again at 2 different price points.  One being the new Schitt Freya S at $599 and the BAT 23SE which is on sale at Music Direct for $3k, originally $5k.  My speakers are Dynaudio Excite 44 for now.  

Thank you.           
adiorio
As good as the Freya S is, it's not in the same league as the BAT.
Can’t go wrong with BAT. An "SE" model is preferable (6H30 driver tubes). Is the remote control included?
Thank you for the feedback so far. The BAT 23se pre that I’m looking at is solid state. 
Love my Freya S, amazing value, which replaced an Adcom GFP-750.  That said, that BAT is a beautiful unit at a great price.  I don't know how much better it may sound, if at all, but it sure looks a lot nicer.    
adiorio OP

Look at the Schiit Freya + $899, as you have 3 different flavours in one, passive, tube, or solid state.
It's got everything, many inputs/output, remote, xlr, se, inputs and outputs, 128-Step Relay switched volume almost as good as going direct.
Or if you don't care for tube part, the Freya S for $599

And you can send it back if you not taken with it. Win win in my books.

Cheers George 
I would think the Adcom GFP 750 would be a step up from the Aragon 28k?  So the Freya S bested that based on what you said. 

In terms of going direct George. I have a Cary CDP 1 CD player that can drive an amp directly. I tried that awhile back and although dynamic, I felt it lost some body. Perhaps it was cables/power cord. 
George, are you still making the Lightspeed Attenuators?  It was the best pre amp I ever had and I’ll want another one someday when I go to separates again
Still doing them with my little Indonesian helper Taka, over 900 now world wide one going to New Caledonia today, Friday one went to Guam!! of all places.
You'll have to get a discount, being a return customer, make sure you remind me when it's time.

Cheers George 
Your right -no tubes in the VK-23SE. I can’t figure out why the "SE" designation. I think BAT used to make a VK-23 version (now not on their website). In the BAT solid state amps, the "SE" usually means extra capacitors for more grunt.
adiorio OP
 In terms of going direct George. I have a Cary CDP 1 CD player that can drive an amp directly. I tried that awhile back and although dynamic, I felt it lost some body. Perhaps it was cables/power cord.

Yes, going direct will be the most dynamic you can get with the Cary having 3.0 V RMS (at 220 output impedance) a perfect match.

It’s possible that your source needed the bit of colouration that a active preamp will give, or you could use warmer sounding cables to do the same, then you’ll also get the better dynamics as well that going direct gives.
As no active preamp can increase dynamics (compared to going direct as you have done), unless the active pre has a DBX dynamic range expander inside it, but they sound rubbish.

Cheers George
I can’t figure out why the "SE" designation
"Special Edition" Some better parts usually

Cheers George
Thank you all again for the feedback.  I believe the Cary's output voltage is 6v when running balanced.  I noticed the gain on the BAT 23se is 20.  Would that be a bit much?  I believe the Aragon 8008 mk2 is a lower gain designed amp. 
The gain on the Aragon is 28db, which is normal (most amps are 26-30 db).  The max gain on the BAT is 20db, but it also has 70 db of volume control range (using a shunted control, so there should not be an optimal volume range for the volume control).  As such, even with the gain, you should still have more than 40db of volume control.  As such, you should be fine.  

Regarding the Freya S v. GFP-750, the GFP-750 was ever so slightly smoother in the midrange, but the Freya S imaged better.  Both have no grain.  Over time the passive mode on the Freya S (and the OG Saga I bought on closeout for my desktop system) have really grown on me.  
O.K., this explains it. The VK-23SE preamp has a transformer-coupled output stage. Thus the "SE" designation. Normally, the output stage incorporated capacitors (not claiming to know the technical reasons). Apparently, the transformer-coupling is superior to caps. Whatever it's doing, my VK-33SE sounds like a dream (also transformer-coupled)!
My understanding is that capacitors are normally used in the output stage to prevent DC offset from potentially damaging speakers.  The capacitor acts as a high pass filter.  There are other ways of dealing with the potential DC offset.  Like many things in audio there are disagreements as to the least audible way to deal with DC offset.