Need opinion in searching for new pre-amp

Hello Audiogon member, I really need your opinions and past experiences regarding my next pre-amp choice. I currently have a BAT VK-30SE pre-amp feeding a BAT VK-60 amp. My question is, when I upgrade my pre-amp, should I stay with BAT or another brand. Would using another brand of pre-amp break up the system synergy or improve upon it. I was thinking on upgrading to Audio Research LS 25 MKII, Sonic Frontiers Line 3se or let me know your suggestion and comments. Thanks in advance for your help.
Maintaining system synergy is tough if you start mixing brands together - especially amp and preamp. It boils down to pure luck so experimentation is required if you want to try brands other than BAT. Since you asked for my opinion, I would have to suggest looking into a BAT VK-50SE since synergy is absolutely critical. Good luck! Arthur
I second Aball's suggestion unless you dislike the BAT sound and want to have a change.
Of all the TUBE preamps I've heard and used the two best are the vk30SE and the 50SE. Though I heard them about a month apart, I didn't recall a huge difference between them. I would try upgrading the amp or maybe a cable or source change. If budget allows I would keep the vk30se and buy a set of vk-150SE monoblocks. A world class combination by any measure.

For less cash, I found the vk-30SE and ARC vt100m2 combination to be absolutely wonderful. I preferred it to the sound of the vk60, but not the vk-150SE. Not by a long shot.

I've had both an LS-25, and an LS-5 mk 3 in my system. Both of them were not even in the same building as my vk-5i w/hotrod tubes. I seem to recall that the vk-30SE was better than my vk-5i. Heard them a few months apart.
I find my BAT setup a little harsh sounding, not as refine and full texture sounding as other systems, eg. ARC LS 25MKII or Sonic Frontiers Line 3. Do you guys have the same problem? I will have a chance to demo the ARC Ref.1.
Hello Waynek, I strongly recommend you listen to the BAT31se. I had my 50se upgraded to the 51se and I was blown away by the improvement. After hearing my system with the 51se my friend bought a 31se the next week. Good luck. Tom
Alot depends on your associated equipment (besides just the amp). It's commonplace to match speakers with amps and amps to preamps. However, whenever you change a component like the preamp, the entire setup must be thoroughly considered.

Almost every preamp (outside a good passive) adds a distinct flavor to the sound. This "flavor" needs to be considered when mating to your other components.

For a simplified example... With certain laid back speakers, the ARC LS25 may lack some of the bass impact and transparency that would complement these types of speakers. On more "up-front/agressive" speakers, these traits may work perfectly.

On the flip side, many of the new ARC models like the LS-25 sound less tube-like than other tube designs. If your setup could use more/less midrange sweetness and tube-like attributes, then those factors will need to be considered in choosing the appropriate preamp.

Unfortunately, unless someone shares your same system and tastes, you should weight the suggestions you get accordingly. Nevertheless, I will point out one thing with the LS25. It's very expensive and alot of the cost is due to having a complete set of balanced AND single-ended connections on the back. If you don't need this flexibility, then you may consider other options from strictly a value proposition.
Labtec, I agree with your opinon regrading system matching. Do you have a matching amp and pre? I will demo and compare the ARC Ref. 1 to my VK30se this weekend and hope to get lucky with a mixed setup, so far I want to stay consistant with one brand. I may prove myself wrong this weekend.

Tom, can you provide more detail the differences between the 50se and 51se? Thanks.

Anyone here know of a good preamp match for the BAT VK 60?