Tubes for the BAT VK5i

I just got a BAT VK-5i here on audiogon and I'm very impressed with the unit. I hat d the tubes tested, though and they're about done for. I'm looking for tubes that will accentuate bass and detail/resolution. I'm figuring that the preamp's medeocre bass response is due to the very old tubes (they test about 58 % of new--time to go!)

I know this is going to be a big deal, but I need some ideas--and I also need to know wh. Suggestions?

Well, you could upgrade the unit to 5se. The 6h30 tubes and better power supply (instead of 6922) will definately improve the bass, detail, resolution, soundstaging substantially. I recently upgraded my 50se to 51se and that's exactly what it did. It was a major improvment, not minor.

If you just want to retube your current 5i (cheaper 4 u) Maybe Amperex 7308's. I use these in my VKP10SE and your sound criteria matches my experience with these tubes.

Just make your you get each triode in each tube matched to itself and the other tubes. BAT uses these in a truly balance fashion.
Indeed time.. The bass on the 5i should be anything but light. One of the best attributes of the 5i was its bass. As a former owner, I found the combination of Seimens 7308 gold Pins in the 6( 3 per side) gain stage tubes and the AC shunt 6922(outer L & R tubes) with Amperex 6922PQ. Finally, for the Power supply gain 5881's. The absolute best was(by no small margin either) Tung Sol 5881 NOS. If you can find them by all means get them. They will absolutly kill the stock Sovteks and make the sound so smooth. In fact it was like a different pre amp with them! I also used JAN Philips 6L6 in them and they were better than stock, but not the Tung Sols. Much easier to find though.

The down side of all these upgrades is definately the price tag. New 6922 Sovteks will be better than what you are now hearing anyway. Good luck!-Ken
One more question I didn't get in the first message for some reason is who is a good supplier of older (or new, for that matter) tubes? Any suggestions?

I was able to get all my NOS tubes here on Agon from various buyers. The best tubes were from "fat_cat"..Mike should be able to help you. Also "sam1104" talk to Sam.
"Guidosmalibu" talk to Vassil. and "zkid" Bob sometimes has nice 6L6's avail. There are the tube stores such as tubeworld and the tube store you can check out.
I've bought tubes here and had great service. Even had 2 go bad 6 months later and he replaced them free. Wasn't his fault and he really took care of me. I have 2 friends and between the 3 of us I've bet we've bought 2-3k worth of tubes from BWS. We've all been happy...
Roland, check out Kevin @ Upscale Audio, I can't think of a better supplier of tubes. Very helpful and knowledgeable, Kevin will tell you exactly what you need.
Happy listening.........
I changed to amperex 7308 white label, and tungsol 5881, I spent $600, but the result was fenomenal, a impressive change in qaulity of sound, sweet and a full bass., some time I tried a inexpensive jan phlips 6922, but the result was poor. You can see that almost all bat vk5i woners recomend amperex and tungsol, these tubes make another kind of preamlifier.
Good luck
Agree with Georgmg, the Tungsol 5881 and Amperex tubes are the way to go for the Vk-5i. For the sdj8, I went with the Orange Globe logo mixed in with some A-frame of the same type. The Orange Globe logo's overall smooth characteristic, along with the better definition of the A-frame give a nice smooth, yet focused sound. I've gotten all my tubes from Brent Jessee's recording Studio in the past. Good luck and have fun.
I agree with both of the last posts! I have a BAT Vk-5i and swapped out the tubes for 5881 Tung Sol's and Sylvania Jan's- sound was tinny and sharp. I then bought Amperex Orange Globe 7308 and my system came to life. Incredible soundstage and improved highs and mids. I also added a Lite DAC 60 upgraded by Pacific Valve and swapped out the 6922's for a set of 7308 RCA's and the smoothness and sweetness improved even more. I am using a Sony XA-777es as transport. Best and Enjoy!
Hello, When I owned a Bat vk5i, I was running early 1960's Amperex 7308 white label PQ USA and 1958 Tungsol 5881's. It had plenty of bass slam. It was also musical, clear and detailed. It soundstaged well too. I attribute the bass slam to the Tungsol 5881's that helmed the 170 joule power supply. The Tungsol 5881's brought as much improvement to the preamp as the Amperex 7308's. I bought my 5881's through Andy of Vintage Tube Services and I wouldn't be surprised if he still has a few matched sets left. Several years ago, the cost for my mirror matched pair of 1958 Tungsol 5881's was around $100. Good luck with it. Nice preamp! Stan