What amp to replace BAT VK-250 w/Dali & Aesthetix?

I'm looking to replace my BAT VK-250 (w/bat pak). Speakers are Dali Euphonia MS4; preamp is Aesthetix Janus. The BAT is not as musical or as present as I'd like--not engaging enough. I feel like it's putting the recording studio in my house, instead of the musicians, if that makes any sense. I listen to rock (no metal), folk, jazz, electronica, and classical.

I'm looking for an amp in the $3,000-$5,000 range, that will give me an organic and warm (but not overly-tubey) sound, while still having great imaging, dynamics, detail, presence etc.. I'm also nervous about going all tube (my DAC has tube as well) because I don't want things to get too syrupy, so I'm leaning toward SS or hybrids.

My Shortlist is as follows:

Moscode 401HR
Pass XA-30.5 or X-250.5
McIntosh 402

If you have specific experience with these amps and my other gear that's great! I'm worried the Pass XA-30.5 won't be enough to power the Dali's (recommended 50-350 @ 4 ohm) in my room (17 x 20); I am also a little nervous about the cult of McIntosh. Any help is greatly appreciated!
A bat vk-75se will not be tubey syrup. I actually made the transition from vk-250 to vk-75se for the same reasons you describe. I think the 75se strikes a great balance. It's as worry/fuss free as a tube amp gets. Word of caution...it runs hot but in your room that may not be an issue.
Ahh, that actually would be a problem. Not for me, but i have this wife who....
I went for "the cult" MC402 with Dali MS5 speakers and was converted. Great amp IMO.
If you have heat concerns and you still want to get a liquid, extended sound and keep in the 5K range, you may want to consider a 'green' amp like the latest Spectron Musician 3 stereo or the newest NuForce monoblocks. As they have a very high damping factor, they should drive speakers of any load. Guido
I've heard the NuForce mono's and wasn't very impressed. I've heard other Class D from Rowland and Bel Canto and can't say I love it. Could just be a prejudice against digital amps, I know. Heat isn't a huge concern, but I don't want to start with amps that I can fry an egg on. The Moscode gets somewhat warm, but not terribly so from what I understand. Same deal with the Pass, I've heard (although I am also under the impression that pure class A amps run very hot--what gives?)
I have the Dali MS5's currently paired with a McIntosh C38 and MC7300 (1992 vintage amp and preamp). I will be upgrading to the MC402, and I'm glad to read the comment above from Azmoon. And I'm curious as to which preamp Azmoon is using? Thanks.
I have the TAD-125 monoblocks by Bizzy Bee. I am using them on Vandy 2CE signatures. At 86 DB these monos drive the heck out of the Vandys. Check Paul's website for specs... Eagleman
I recently purchased a new PASS X250.5 & X1 and have been very impressed. A wonderful sounding amplifier (quite possibly the best that I have heard), with plenty of power, plus great asthetics and build-quality. I also had the BAT, and feel that the PASS was a next-level improvement. Highly recommended!
Thanks everyone for your replies thus far.

Azmoon: Can you tell me more about your system and what other amps you've used with the dali's besides the 402?

Tusa: did you consider the 30.5 or just the x250.5? You had the BAT VK-250 as well? Can you tell me a little about what you think the difference between the Bat and the pass is? What speakers are you using now, and what preamp and speakers were you usying with the BAT?

Thanks everyone!
I use a Pro Ject Tube Box SE 2 phono amp through a Linn Kolektor preamp. I consider the Linn the weakest link in my system. I would like to go with a Mac next time I have the funds to upgrade.

I started with 3 Linn LK85's tri amped into the MS5s but quickly went to the Mac MC 402 with much better results.
Azmoon: not to start a new thread, but if you're still looking to upgrade your phono section, you may want to look at the Aesthetix Janus as a one-box solution. I'm very, very happy with mine.
Hi Mimberman, switching amps are funny ducks: they are absolute bears to break in. If they have significantly less than 1000 hours of operation on them, they can sound 'dry' IMO. G.
The Aesthetix Janus will be on my list to consider. Thanks for the tip!

I do not mean to hi jack the thread but anyone Dali fans here happen to own Dynaudio before? What's the difference between the Dynaudio Audience and Dali Ikon sonically?


I had the 75se then upgraded to the 150se but went back to SS BAT 600se because of the heat that the tubes were putting out. Kept the 600se for about 3-4 months, and went back to the 150se for the same reason that you stated above.

“Not as musical or as present as I'd like--not engaging enough. I feel like it's putting the recording studio in my house, instead of the musicians”

If you can try a 75se. Very Musical, detailed and very engaging, and half the tubes of the 150se. IMHO you will not fine what you want in a SS Amp. Also I own a pair of Class D amps, Channel Island D 200 and they are just not in the same league.
When I would have to go to transistor amps, I would get Lamm units. From those the 1.2 Reference.

I owned the Pass 250.5 and it is an excellent amp. I now own a Tube Research Labs M-225 mono blocks and they are the best amps I have ever heard. I have owned tube, SS, Class D, expensive and moderately priced and TRL is in another class. The M-225 is their solid state product and it runs very cool. They have produced some of the best tube equipment including their $140,000 mono blocks for the past 20+ years and now their SS competes with their tube amps. Check them out, very little is ever discussed about TRL but Paul & Brian know what they are doing. If you can get past not impressing your friends with a brand name then you will find a hidden treasure.
Bobheinatz: heh, you think my friends know any of the brands in my rig? Jeez, I'm surprised, given my audio problem, that I even have friends.
A few years ago, I went from a BAT VK200 to a Plinius SA-102 and have been very pleased. My pre is the Aesthetix Calypso with NOS tubes.
I took a look at your system and the best advice I could give is not to feed you amp through the PureAV PF60. That conditioner works fine for digital, but kills the dynamics of the amp. At least try removing it from the amp's current path first. When I replaced mine with a Furman Reference 15i, the difference has been tremendous.