Balanced Audio Technology VK-150SE Amplifiers

VK-150SE

150 W Tube Mono amplifier Price is for the pair

User Reviews (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4  
larry   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 24, 2007]
Strength:

SET-like presence/immediacy, but still awesome extension at freq. extremes. Never heard that before, haven't hear it anywhere since. To get this, one MUST properly match speakers and chose the correct taps.

Weakness:

HOT. This is not really a "weakness", but one must match speakers carefully. I wouldn't bother trying to drive speakers that drop below 4 ohms. I would prefer speakers with a somewhat stable impedence curve. Now, this is actually more true for all other tube amps. To BAT's credit, the 150SE's are less subject to this requirement than every other tube amp I've tried, but the user should still match speakers carefully for truly exceptional sound.

Long-term follow-up:

Well, it's been over 5 years since my 12/11/01 review, and these amps have continued to more than hold their own against all comers. I feel compelled to further advise use of the 6-8 taps (not the 4-6 taps) for Von Schweikert VR-5SEs. 6 months ago, I acquired the new VR-5SEs, which also prefer the 6-8 taps. With the 6-8 taps in that app., the SET-like immediacy these amps deliver really comes through. I had been missing that with the 4-6 taps, as they overdampeded the M/T of the speaker.

I have replaced nearly all my gear over the last five years, and have tried many, many big-ticket products. Nevertheless, the BAT 150SEs, the BAT 51SE, and the BAT P10SE will remain, likely forever (and will be updated as BAT updates them), as will Albert Von Schweikert's new VR-5SE speakers. While there is the occaisonal flavor-of-the-month boutique-built tube pre, amp, or phonostage that may do one thing better, I've seen that gear come and go (and break) far too many times to bother.

This is the _real_ good stuff, possibly the greatest stuff. But you must take the time to properly set it up- plenty of ventilation; proper vibe control is very helpful; be sure to try different speaker taps! I thought I had it all using the 4-6 taps- boy, was I ever wrong!
-Larry

P.S.
Don't use power cords from Shunyata that use FeSi compound. Sounds dead dead dead, even on digital gear. Also, having tried hundreds of vibe control products, even making my own, get yourself some Symposium Roller-Blocks and Svelt Shelves (or Point Pods or Fat Padz) for BAT gear. Simply the best combo.

Customer Service

Second to none, but you probably won't need it unless you want to take advantage of VK's excellent insights and advice on tube useage.

Similar Products Used: Too numerous to mention in last five years. From the NuForce 9SE's to new Moscode hybrids to the usual tube gear manufacturers to custom-made boutique tube gear.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Larry   [Dec 11, 2001]
Strength:

with right setup, helped me to come nearly as close as (inhumanly) possible to true musical reproduction

Weakness:

Get ready to buy some 6C33B's!

Follow up-

With the new Von Schweikert VR-5 HSE's and 1 meter Audience Au24's/jumpers, my system has achieved plapable, high resolution music repro with nearly all elusive "audiophile" qualities present in spades. Jeez- those Hales, well...

The VK150SE really shines with these speakers; simply no comparison, even to Avante.'s horns IMHO. Midrange purity is jaw-dropping; soundstage is vivid and high qual. recordings really shine. Would like to hear/afford VR-7's :) Virtual reality/the ultimate sound has never been closer.

I've discovered that the (extremely short, here) simply jacketed Au24 speaker cable produces better realism than cable costing up to X3! Not to say that Audience is cheap...1 meter (only) makes a BIG diff., too.

Just a shame that many artists' studio recordings are so lousy; this system really exposes problems with realism when dealing with recordings using mixing-board reverb and fabricated, sound-booth instrumental images.

Final recommendation-try a Shunyata Python with the amps. Absolutely untouchable, again IMHO. If you play loud and often, even w/150wpc, be prepared to buy new output tubes @ $100.00 each (8 total for the monoblocks) about one set per year.

Larry

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Larry   [Jul 04, 2001]
Strength:

todo

Weakness:

nada

Yep-

Just as I suspected. The VK150SE is everything the VK75SE is, but with superior macrodynamics. Bass is now perfect; soundstage is expanded. Incredible timbral qualities knock my socks off even with only ~40 hours on one of the monoblocks (I had VK75SE previously) and interconn's. Can't wait for my VonSchweikert VR-5 HSE's & use of the 6-4 Ohm taps.

System:
VK150SE
VK50SE
DVD/CD (custom modified)
Hales T5's (in two weeks: VonSch's VR5 HSE'S)
PS Audio P600 (for the TV, VCR, cable box)
Shunyata Hyrda, King CobraX2, ViperX3
Analysis Plus Silver Oval balanced IC's
Audience speaker cable

I highly recommend these monoblocks; awesome upper/lower extension. Seems to overcome this failing of pure single-end triode designs without giving anthing up. Wow.

Larry

Similar Products Used: VK75SE, other tubers and some high-end SS stuff
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ryan   Audiophile [Feb 25, 2001]
Strength:

Excells at pretty much everything

Weakness:

HOT HOT (you won't need to run the heater in the winter, I've yet to try these things on a hot day), big $ in tube replcement, Huge (takes a lot of floorspace) but they look very cool

OK looks like I'll be the first to comment on these latest offering from BAT. My upgrade path was Pass 3-Pass 2 monos-BAT VK150se. The rest of the system is Dunlavy SC 4 speakers, and Wadia 860x CD player direct. Compared to the Pass Amps these are more extended in the highs with much better bass. At the same time listening fatigue is non existent. The image specificity and focus is awesome, soundstage is only limited to the recording. The rest of my system needs to catch up to the performance of these amps. These amps take tube strengths and solid state strenghts and roll them into one package. If you are looking for a syrupy smooth tube amp you won't find it here. I don't know what to say as far as their value is concerned. Do I think that they should cost 17k? No, (I don't think any component is worth this much, but that what they charge.) Do I think they are better than other amps in this price range? I don't know, I haven't had the chance to own any. I do know that they perform significantly better than any other component I have yet to own and are easily the most pleasing addition I have yet to make to my system. So based on this I'm going to give them a 5/5. I will be interested to hear what others have to say about BATs new line of se amps.

Similar Products Used: Pass 3 and 2 monos, Moscode 300
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-4 of 4  

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