Need help with upgrade path

I'm using a BAT VK-300x integrated with vr4jr speakers and need your advice on an upgrade path to balanced separates. I can try different amps while still using the pre-amp section of the integrated but I'm not sure it is up to the job. As it is now I can't audition a preamp so I plan on upgrading this later.

I'm looking for an amp with better bass control and more oomph while still being nimble and detailed on a budget of 3k to 5k. Some of the amps I'm considering: BAT VK-250 or VK-500, Parasound JC-1's, Ayre V-5xe or Spectron M III.

I appreciate your helpful insights in this quest.
Parasound JC1 s I have listened to extensively; they are great amps. Quality coupled to high current delivery capability will wake that bass up.

more ooomph

Have you considered active speakers. At 5K just for just a power amp you are pretty may not be aware of it but about half your power is lost in the passive crossovers... IMD issues aswell. If you want clean and loud then active is an option you might consider at this price point. Just a could biamp those fine speakers too.
your bat should give it to you in spades.
Probably no reason to go to the extreme dollar wise or power wise. The Parasound A21 should do fine. You could always biamp with powered subwoofer to lighten the bass load.

But, if you want that much power, you might consider Bryston 7B SST monoblocks.
Have you considered selling your VK-300X, putting that money with what you have now and buying a Karan KA I-180 integrated? It is balanced and has one balanced input. If you want more "ooomph" and everything else, the Karan will take control of your speakers and you will simply be amazed at what you hear!

Of the amps you mentioned I would go for the VK-500.
Sometimes one amp will do a better job than another for controling a speaker. Try bi-wiring, better still bi-amping.

QUOTE FROM POSITIVE FEEDBACK REVIEW "When I fired up my system after these changes, what I heard was more to my liking. Bi-wiring opened up the sound across the board. The highs were more airy and transparent, the midrange much more musical and engaging. The bass was thunderous and articulate."

About 10 years ago I owned a pair of Genesis Vs. It was the prototype for speakers like the VR4s. Alas, the Vs were a one box design, but included a bass amp. The mid/tweeters demanded a potent amp. I replaced the Vs with a pair of Reference 3A monitors. Before I sold the Vs, I moved them to the front wall and ran just the subs. That was my first revelation about bass loading in a room.

Fortunately, you could actually separate your satellites and put them on stands, then play with moving the bass cabinets around your room. A good place to start is 3-5 feet behind the satellites. Then move them side to side until you find the sweet spot.
The Parasound JC-1s are very good amps. I owned them for three years. You will need some power from your wall to get them perform at there best. I used dedicated 20 amps lines (one for each amp) But think with the easier to drive VS speakers one 30amp or two 15amp lines would be plenty. They also run very hot. More so than the pure class A Krells I use now.
I replaced the JC-1s with the Ayre V-1XE. I enjoyed the tone, sweetness, and full sound of this amp more than the JC-1s. It will not need as much power to excel and is not quite as hot. I used both of these amps with a BAT VK-31SE preamp and they seemed well matched together.
Before you write my suggestion off, I have listened to BAT pieces many, many times at a store in Illinios owned by Geoff Poor, who also happens to be one of the partners in BAT. I've heard them with Esoteric and BAT digital front ends as well as VPI analog front ends running through an array of different Wilson (MAXX, Sophia, Duette), JM Lab/Focal Utopia (Nova Be, Diva Be, Micro Be) and Magnepan (1.6) speakers.

As good as those systems sound, if you've not familiar with Karan amps or integrated amps, I really wish you'd give one a try before making your final decision. They are every bit as special as all of the reviews proclaim them to be.

I'd like to audition the Karan but it seems availability might be an issue. I failed to mention that I'll be buying used and reselling,unfortunately, if it doesn't fit. If one were to become available I will be very interested.

I've always intended to try bi-wiring these speakers, I'm sure it would improve the bass, but wondered if the cohesiveness would suffer...won't know till I try.

I'd very much like to audition the JC-1's if a pair within my area becomes available. The heat would be an issue but I'd still like to try them. Nothing is perfect in all respects. The Ayre V-1xe is an excellent suggestion, something I've thought about and will most definitely try when available. I look forward to hearing how it will pair with my VR-4jr's. Has anyone heard these paired together, I wonder.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their suggestions and if anyone has something else I welcome those also.


Call Darren at Avatar Acoustics, 1-888-991-9196 or 1-305-608-6079 ( He's the importer. I bought mine used from him, it's within your range.

Normally, when someone goes to the Karan gear, they stay with it. They may trade up, and will go to Darren rather than go on Audiogon because he has more connections in the Karan market.

Tube pre-amp with a SS. power amp. Best of both worlds, pre-amp tubes are relatively inexpensive. My opinion and I'm sticking to it. I have had a tube pre (custom built around the 12au7 tube) and a variety of SS power amps for decades. I won't have it any other way.
The BAT integrated isn't bad at all, in fact, I enjoy it very much. But I'm curious how the VK-500 might compare as far as bass control and overall presentation.