Solid state amp/Tube Preamp. Possible?

Hi everyone. I have a Classe CA300 power amp & I'm thinking of getting a BAT tube preamp w/phone pre. A BAT VK-3i to be exact. My speakers are B&W 802's with a Linn Wakonda Pre at present with a Sota table. The Linn has a on board phone pre but I run my table through a Musical Fidelity X-LPS ver 3 phono pre. I'm thinking of replacing the Linn & X-LPS with the BAT VK-3i. I know BAT's reputation is outstanding just worried about the tube pre matched with a solid state amp. Any ideas or experience with this type of set up would be appreciated.

Cheers Deanna
Find out the output impedance of the BAT. The input impedance of the Classe should be at least 10 times that amount.

A good tube pre in front of a SS amp is a very popular way to go. I think you will be very happy. Good luck.
I chased that sound and found that its better to have a good solid state pre amp with my solid state amp. The problem is the tubes they are never the same and overtime they continue to change . If your looking for good sound your better off
getting a good DAC to go with your system that will give you the warmer sound and more detailed sound. look at MSB DAC they have some in audiogon under $600 and the Platinum series for 1500 and up. You will be much
You want to look at the highest output impedance measurement of a preamp, not just the nominal output impedance spec. Output impedances rise substantially, especially in the lower frequencies. Matching a preamp with a high output impedance in the low frequencies with a low input impedance amplifier (typical of many solid state amps) will result in rolled of bass.

Stereophile's measurements of the BAT VK-3iX states:

"The VK-3iX's output impedance was also high, and this might well have an effect on sound quality, depending on the input impedance of the partnering amplifier. The unbalanced source impedance varied from 7k ohms at 20Hz to 1460 ohms at 1kHz and 2650 ohms at 20kHz, while the balanced figures ranged from a very high 14k ohms at 20Hz to 1850 ohms in the midband and above."

BAT's amps have an input impedance of 100k ohms. Check the specs on your amp. All I could find was an input impedance spec for the CA 200, which is 75k ohms. If this applies for the CA 300, then it's likely you can get away with the BAT preamp. Generally, BAT preamps are not a good match for many solid state amps that have low input impedances for the reason mentioned above.
I have actually had the Classe 400 with the BAT VK-3i and the match was excellent driving my older Mirage M3 speakers. I had the Odyssey Stratos with that system as well, and the sound was also excellent. The CDP was a Meridian, warmest most musical system I probably have had in 1 room.
I think your going in the right direction.

My first tubed component was a preamp matched to a solid state amp and it was not a problem. Matching the impedance as listed in some other posts is usually not a problem either. I also think that if you are going to move towards tubes, you are headed in the right direction and will probably get more pleasing results with the tubed preamp rather than if you had a tube power amp with a solid state preamp. Just my opinion!!
12-02-08: Cyclonicman
Matching the impedance as listed in some other posts is usually not a
problem either.

John Atkinson provides reasons in his Stereophile test measurements section for
the potential impedance mismatches. Perhaps I have not presented the reasons
clearly, but the issue exists nonetheless.

Readers should look at Atkinson's measurements sections in Stereophile
reviews for further information. He has tested several BAT preamps.

As I stated earlier, the BAT/Classe match will likely be good based on the
numbers, but to say matching impedance is usually not a problem is simply

Perhaps, I'm misunderstanding Cyclonicman's point.
I use a Supratek Chenin with a Gilmore Class D amp and the combo sounds sensational. No impedance problems there. The output impedance of the Supratek is ~200ohms, so it matches up well with just about any amp.
Ive run tube preamps and solid state amps in different combos for years..Never gave the matching any thought and never had any issues..IMO, the tech info of matching may have its credits but in any system I put together it never was...
Tubed preamp and solid state amps make beautiful music for me.
I've used an Atma-Spere MP-1 MK III and a Lamm L2 Reference (not fully tubed), and a Lamm LL2 Deluxe with solid state amps with excellent results. All of these preamps have low output impedances (below 200 ohms for the Lamms, and I believe 600 ohms for the Atma-Sphere).

I tried an ARC Ref 3 with solid state amps (Pass Labs) with so-so results.

I'll keep the measurement specs concept in my back pocket for future reference.
TVAD, I wasn't disputing your point and certainly not John Atkinsons measurements regarding impedance. In my experience, I've have never had a problem matching components. Nowhere in my post did I imply that you should ignore matching the impedance. The main point I was hooping to convey is that I believe it is better to go for a tubed preamp with solid state amp than to go the other way using a solid state preamp with a tubed amp, which I think was my attempt at providing Deanna with my experience and my opinion pertaining to her question. I thought that was pretty clear in my post, if not, hopefully this is clearer.
Got it. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
just like Missioncoonery, I too ran with SS amps and tube preamps for a long time and never gave thought to impedence always sounded great...the tubes added that extra warmth, I highly recommend the combination but in the end, its all about system syngergy.
I am using a tubed McIntosh MC2300 pre with McIntosh MC 501 solid state monoblocks. They are wonderful matches!

Pepe the end, its all about system syngergy.
Lou_setriodes (Threads | Answers)

Do you suppose system synergy could be related to impedance matching...or is it simply serendipity or luck?
I am using a tubed McIntosh MC2300 pre with McIntosh MC 501 solid state monoblocks. They are wonderful matches!

Is it Ground Hog Day?
I have a BAT VK-3iX preamp. When I first got it, I used it to drive Sim Audio amp as my main system. I was happy for awhile until I got my 2nd system, a 300B SET amp with more sensitive speakers. I found my 300B SET amp had more bass than my main system!

So I sent my preamp to BAT for power cap and output cap upgrades. The output cap upgrade tripled the amount of capacitance and thus lowered the output impedance at lower frequencies. Sure enough, I had more bass after I got my VK-3iX back from BAT.

Then a friend loaned me an amp with tube input/gain stage, which has a higher input impedance. The bass further increased! That is the amp I am using now: tube gain stage and SS output stage.

IMO, a ratio of 10:1 between the amp-input-impedance and preamp-output-impedance is not enough. I would say 100:1 is about right.
Eureka Vett93! A testament from the trenches!

Here's to more-better-bass through good impedance matching!
I had a Kebschull valve preamp with the SS Perraux PM1850 power amp for 20 years, and it was the sweetest combination I have ever heard. In some ways, better than the Halcro DM10 and Halcro DM58 monoblocks I now have. Didn't know the impedence matching and still don't.
some speakers prefer tube amplification versus solid state

just my experience with some harbeths and proacs using mcintosh mc402 (SS) and then mc2102 (TUBE)

What was the model # of your Kebschull Preamp and What was the retail price at the time?

I still have the Kebschull Preamp which has no Model No. on it.
I think they only made one model which had a built-in MM and MC Phono Stage. Cost me either AU$2,000 or AU$4,000 (I can't recall which) some 20 odd years ago?
You realise that the Company doesn't exist anymore?
I heard rumours that Herr Kebschull was recently the permanent guest of the German Government?