McIntosh C 2300 vs BAT VK-52SE/51SE

Hello I currently have a BAT VK-3I that I would like to upgrade. I am looking to buy used.

Was wondering which is the better performer? I know that the 52 is better then the 51. The 2300 has a phono preamp which I would not use. I currently have a BAT VK-P10SE that I will be using for the phono preamp. In the future for a power amp I was thinking along the lines of a McIntosh MC602.

Used 2300's go for around 4500 hundred. Used 51's go for around 3500 and more than likely have been used more. The 52 I do not see many of them for sale so I am not sure what they are going for.

The budget does matter but the thought process is that the 2300 is fairly new and may last me quite some time. The 51 is better on the budget but how long will it be before I am ready or need to move on due to its age. The 52 will be harder on the budget but like the 2300 will last me quite a while. If the thinking is that a 51 out performs a 2300 I may just go that route and in a few years see what happens then. Maybe upgrade to a 52 at that time.

Appreciate any responses.
I just purchased 2 new MC601 last week to compare with my MC275 mono block and C2300 of the last three years. The new MC601s and C2300 made all music sound amazing with no limitation, especially for rock, pop and classical. And made a huge different with Sonos, Mac mini and Vinyl.
BTW - if you're buying a used MC602. Chance are that you can sell them at the same price 10 year from now.
The C2300 is one of the best tube preamps ever made. If you don't plan on using it for vinyl, however, you can save some money going with the C2200. Guts are the same but the C2300 adds an extra MC phono section.

Good luck & happy listening!
Beewax Thanks for the info. The MC602 will be down the line a little. I think my money currently would be best used towards a preamp.

Effischer Thanks also. I have not done that much research on the McIntosh equipment. This is kind of the first shot at it. Reading reviews really is kind of subjective. Unless the equipment is really bad. Its nice to get individuals input that may have had this equipment themselves.

Again Thanks
I know that the 52 is better then the 51.

How do you know this? Did you listen for yourself?

I thought they sounded different, the 52 had more bloom and sweetness, the 51 had more power and dynamics. I actually preferred the 51SE myself. Newer is not necessarily better, many times it's just different. As usual, YMMV.
Jmcgrogan2 Truthfully I have not had the pleasure of hearing either of them. I am just going buy what I researched and have read. Unfortunately there is know way for me to make a comparison without buying each one.

As far as age goes I do know that electronics will go at some time and being older does not mean it will go first. I know capacitors will need to be replaced eventually. When will that be I have know idea. I am currently using a 3I which is fine. But I have a lot of other audio electronics that have gone out. I am an individual who can not and will not buy a system every few years.

Perhaps I should have stated it is my understanding that the 52 is better than the 51. If I have offended you I apologize.

Thanks for the input.
No need to apologize Greg, you didn't offend me at all. I just like to question statements of "facts" that stand out as curious to me. Since I had the opportunity to hear both, and I disagreed with your assessment, I just thought I'd throw in my $0.02 for what it's worth.

I agree with you about preamps ages and capacitor issues, especially within the BAT line. I've owned 9 pieces of BAT gear in my days, including 3 preamps. 2 of the 3 preamps had to have their caps replaced. I no longer own BAT gear, some of it due to a change in tastes, some of it due to cap issues.

I think both are excellent brands but I'm kind of surprised that no one has mentioned that BAT and McIntosh sound quite a bit different from each other.

First off I would recommend that you stay with just one brand, in this case both manufacturers offer a complete line of products so you're lucky.

I can only speak about the BAT gear so hear goes. To get the most out of their preamps that have the supertube, you should have a 20 amp dedicated circuit just for the preamp and no line conditioner, etc. Their supertube products are like nitro fueled cars you need the nitro fuel to get their full potential. So if you are sharing components on one line and using a line conditioner, etc., their 6922 versions are better suited for you.

I would only recommend buying their used gear if you are capable of repairing and upgrading the parts of the unit you are buying. For me the best preamp they made for the money is either the 31SE and 51SE (the more power hungry unit- 8 supertubes). By changing out and upgrading all the caps both units can almost rival a stock Rex preamp.

As for your 31, it's one hell of a great unit if you change out and upgrade all the caps and beef up selective ones.
Zd542 I have never heard a McIntosh before. I do love the sound of the BAT equipment I own though.

Btselect A dedicated 20 amp breaker more than likely will not happen any time soon. Where the stereo is located without tearing out some sheet rock it would be very hard to get a line there. Believe me I have given it some thought. If I new which caps and what type to upgrade to that would be pretty sweet. I am handy with a iron and do do nice work. Would the caps be the only thing or would I need to upgrade the transformer also? If I am not mistaken it is one of the first 3's.

Anyway thanks all for the replies.

To do this job you would need a desoldering gun, I use a Hakko 808, for the money you can't go wrong. It took me years to master this tool, in fact I am still learning to use it. The best is to buy the kit that has almost all that you need, I would buy a 1.6mm tip part #A1007 to do the 250v 470uf caps, use the 1mm tip that comes with the kit to do the smaller 16v 10000uf and 16v 100uf caps, and I believe it came with additional filters if not, its part #A1033. All you need to do is replace all the caps, I also change out the tube sockets to the gold plated ceramic ones just like the ones in your unit except they're gold plated. The reason for this is because I would use the current gold pin Gold Lion tube from New Sensor.

If you are game it would be easier if I could get your email so I can further discuss this with you, if this is possible on this web site.
You are actually replacing all of these capacitors without any other adjustments? Is this the correct thing to do ? I thought that BAT wouldn't, or couldn't upgrade the 51 to the 52? What is the story? What is the cost of this upgrade approximately?