Balanced Audio Technology VK-20 Preamplifiers

4/5 (12 Reviews) MSRP : $1995.00


Product Description

Line Pre Amp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jessica a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 1, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is a truely great preamp that deserves to be auditioned. The other posts really sum up things very well, this is a very well balanced highend preamp. It seems very transparent yet very controlled with an ability to resolve delicate detail with good dynamics. The bass performance of the Vk20 is really wonderful. With the VK-20 in my system, it sounds like my bass goes deeper than it did before, yet it's more controlled as manifest by beautiful skin tones and dynamic life of hand drums. Intruments and voices have a very 3d character to them and they are very well deliniate. There is no sense of etch or analytical here, just music. The Vk-20 has really breathed new life into my system. Can't wait to do the SixPac upgrade which the people at BAT say makes the VK20 indistinguishable from the VK40 except on big orchestral pieces where the beefier power supply helps the VK40.

The guy I bought my VK20 from upgraded to a VK30se. He really likes his VK30se, but he had to admit that he prefered the bass performance of the VK20.

The only problem I discovered was that when the manual says the unit needs 6" on each side, it means it. I placed the unit in a Lovan rack (open sided tripod modular stack) which only had 1" of clearance between the VK20 and the next shelf above it. After 30 minutes in this cramped space it sounded worse than an old NAD I had around. I moved it to the top of the rack and within an hour it was singing again. Even though it's a solid state design, give it the 6" of ventilation on all sides like the manual says.

I bought it used, but now that I've lived with it, I would have bought this new at $2500 with remote.

I love tubes, but this solidstate preamp strikes me as a perfect blend of tube and solid state characters and works great in my system.

System: GoldenTube SE40 amp, Acoustat 1+1 electrostats, Rega Planar3 + Grado, CAL Sigma tube dac, Nordost Blue Heaven

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $1125.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by theforerunner a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is an absolutely fantastic preamp. It is a smooth assured performer with wonderful dynamics that throws a very wide, well focused soundstage. There is definately no solid state glare or harshness. If anything , this preamp has a tubelike character. It is very easy to listen to yet it provides a wealth of detail and resolution. The unit I have has the six-pak upgrade which is well worth the money. The remote is solidly built. The unit to my taste is beautiful to look at also. I have it mated with a Bryston 4B-ST and they work extremely well together. Though many people call this an "entry level" pre-amp at $3000 retail there is nothing entry level about the price. Believe me, there is nothing entry level about the sound! This is a real high end preamp. If you're patient and you shop well you can get a great deal on this one.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 29, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I'll be brief. I've owned many a preamp in my many years associated with this hobby. The BAT VK20 is the finest bargain to be found in all of audio. I've owned most of the BAT preamps, and the VK20 gives up little, if anything, in the way of dynamics or musicality compared to its more expensive siblings. It must be said that the unit I possess contains the optional 6 pak capacitor upgrade module, which I suspect really helps to bring it to life. I've recently downsized my system, yet I've not lost a thing in terms of musicality. If you've yet to hear a VK20 consider giving one a listen for yourself. You'll bound to be pleasantly surprised. Don't think for a moment that you absolutely, positively have to throw money around in this hobby to acquire a state of the art sound system. I doubt anyone that heard my system would believe the amount of sound it produces from a minimal investment. The bottom line is, what does the music sound like. Not how much money you've spent. The VK20 is the real deal and for a small investment is, for my money, the best preamp bargain in all of audio. Enjoy!!!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Martin Taylor a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 25, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I review this machine only in passing, since it has been loaned to me while my Pass is being repaired. That's the only reason I would compare it with a preamp costing over twice as much.
Its strengths are a natural presentation, without any obvious colorations, and very smooth and sweet treble (quite valve-like). I also like the user interface and wish the Pass had programmable input names. I'm not so keen on the very fine volume increments, it seems to take an age to reach the level I want. On the down side, the bass is not detailed and extended compared with the Pass. The soundstage lacks that depth and dimensionality I am used to, making the music sound a little flat.
Overall, I doubt that I could live with this machine, but only because I am used to the superb Pass. Is it more than half the Pass' performance? Of course, the law of diminishing returns applies. A very nicely designed mid-fi product.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by George a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I don't understand what all the fuss is about over the VK20? It is a very nice sounding preamp. BAT doesn't make a bad component of any type. The VK20 is one of the finest preamps I've ever listened to. I own it, and have owned preamps costing many times more than the VK20. Everyone has their own ears, and every system is unique given everyones own room. To DIS the VK20 because of some short comings of a dealer set up, or problem with "YOUR" room is dumb. The VK20 is a fine preamp, and you'd have to throw away a lot more money to get 2% more in performance to be had from preamps costing 3 times the price of the VK20. Say what you will, but I'd not trade my VK20 for any preamp in all of audio. It's a KEEPER!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




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