Balanced Audio Technology VK-60 Amplifiers

VK-60

User Reviews (23)

Showing 1-10 of 23  
snilsen13   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 04, 2015]


Overall, the smooth sound, the power and soundstage makes this an amazing amp. Read the other reviews. It is especially good with vocals, which is a pretty darn nice place to shine.

Another thing to like about this is the build quality, the auto-biasing and stability. I've never had to service it. It has 5 fuses protecting itself from damage and tube quality is hardly an issue. A whole new set of tubes can be had for under $200 via ebay! You're basically listening to some MASSIVE transformers here. Tube rolling really doesn't really matter, and if you are going to hear it, it would come down to just 2 small tubes. So its one less stupidity to deal with.

Why not 5 stars? It has two obvious caveats. One, this amp runs really hot and you'll be paying more electric keeping it on a lot. Two, they are too big for even the largest standard rack. Thirdly, it may be that a more detailed amp can be found.

Of course they need to be paired to right speakers to really shine. Speakers with a recessed sound stage (Monitor Audio), for instance, are not the right choice. Also, I've found this amp is not so fantastic a pairing with Klipsch Heritage speakers. The previous user found it too powerful for his Avant Garde Duos. So, for horns, get some 300B or 2A3 amplifier. However 2-way boxes have gotten really amazing. Pair such speaker, at any price tag, with this amp and you'll have amazing depth and width. I suppose the LS-50 would be the flavor of the day, but there are less expensive options.

Anyhow, I would call this a great buy at $2000 and less. Currently it is under-valued. You couldn't build it from parts for the used prices I see.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
wapao69   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 17, 2008]
Strength:

Very fluid, tight bass, great sweet highs, clear mids, you will enjoy every type of music.......

Weakness:

Heavy monster, no weaknesses.... ; ).

Excellent mids, excellent highs, great bass, superb sound stage, he rock's, from Mozart to Snatana, to The Rippingtons to Chick Corea to AC DC to Toto to William Aura to Dave Matthews to Celia Cruz to Jarabe de Palo ..................he kick the ass of my Spendors. Great Amp.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
fresco   AudioPhile [Dec 06, 2007]
Strength:

Excellent in producing punchy floor slamming bass. Not only that, the high end sound is so sweet, and fluid even the bass sound sweet. Not many tube amp can perform like this.

Weakness:

Big and heavy. Take about 3 hours to sound its best!!

The moment I used BAT vk-60 on my snell type D, I knew that my 200 watts aragon 8008 will be in the store room for a long long time. BAT vk-60 is just awesome.

How come the 60 watts tube amp beat the 200 watts solid state amp in every way? till now I still scratching my head trying to figure it out.

My 200 watts is already crazy enough to produce a floor slamming bass. The 60 watts BAT slammed the floor even harder + it shook all windows in my room at the same volume level as the aragon.

What is even more amazing about this BAT is that after 2-3 hours of listening especially when the transformer is hot, the sound is becoming more fluid and more revealing. Both the low and high are sweeter and more extended.

I believe many BAT owners dont even know that the sound of this amp is even a lot better after 2-3 hours.

Definitely a 5 stars for this.

Similar Products Used: aragon 8008 and musical fidelity preamp.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ckoffend   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 15, 2007]
Strength:

Great midrange, excellent staging in all areas, solid power (in mono, never listened in stereo mode), beautiful with the human voice, better attack than many other tube amps. Overall, a very positive good amplifier. Seems like the autobiasing works well and helps with buying/replacing tubes.

Weakness:

Heat generation, power consumption, sheer size. Limited to a single power tube (less experimentation).

Having gone through too many amps in the past year (starting with Golden Tube Audio as my starting point, and a good starting point at that as the SE 40 amps are way under praised, over performing amps at any price). I have owned CJ, Mark Levinson, Channel Island, Pass Labs, Theta and a couple of others in the past year. I now have a pair of the VK 60s that I run in mono configuration. I bought a VK 5i preamp to go with them. My plan is to only run the VK 60s during the colder months and a Mark Levinson during the summer (Michigan).

Overall, I have been impressed with the BAT amps, especially on the weekends where they are left on from Friday evening through Sunday night and they settle in very nicely in this arrangement. Otherwise, I feel a good half hour is a good warm up time (15 minutes minimum). During this initial turn-on/warm-up time you can hear the tubes warming up and what I suspect is the biasing of the tubes automatically (of course this can only be heard if you are not listening to music). I find that every once in a while I will get a tube that does not appear to bias, typically touching the tube or slightly adjusting its position corrects this immediately. This seems to be more of an issue with the bottom shape of the tubes than the equipment. There are sources for the tubes at only $40 each vs. the $80 price from BAT (6C33 tubes were all manufactured at the same plant so there is no difference) which represents a pretty good savings.

The VK 60 has fairly good bass, especially for a tubed amp of this power (120 in mono). The midrange is nice and the transition up the scale is smooth with no real anomolies. I think the midrange is the strength of this amplifier, which if an amplifier has a strong point related to the audible range is where a strength should be. I find female voices in particular, but the human voice in general is protrayed very well with these amps. I find the highs quite good as well, in my set-up they are never etchy or bright, not over emphasized and certainly not disappointing in any way. Is this the best amp for reproducing the highest octaves? No, but overall the performance in this range is very solid and better than many, in fact most, amps I have reviewed/owned.

These amps deliver an airy, open sound stage with good separation of spaces, nice depth and very good width and height. The bass is pretty good (for tubes), not as tight, punchy and controlled as my ML. However, running the amps with subwoofers (I use Rel) I find really helps the musically presentation by reducing the absolutely bottom octaves being delivered by this amp to the speakers, this is what I recommend. This helps tighten up the bottom end with these amps. Don't get me wrong, they are fairly solid lower octave performers and many may/will find the sub is not necessary.

I can highly recommend this/these amps. While I have not listened via a single unit in stereo mode, I have heard that with moderately efficient speakers, they in this mode they are also very good amps.

They are very large amps and don't fit on my audio rack facing forward, so I have them installed sideways (no not on their side, with the side of the amp facing forward). I would prefer a power switch on the front vs. the back of the amps. They run very, very warm as do most amps with this number of tubes and those living in warm climates may want to take this into consideration if your air conditioning system is not strong. They definately suck a lot of power (especially two) so I recommend when running two, turn on one at a time (I have never blown any breakers, etc. . . ).

4.5 Stars!

Equipment I run with these amps:
BAT VK-51 Pre-amp
Audio Aero Capitole and Prima CD Players
Wilson Audio Duette Speakers
Thiele 2.X speakers
Various brands of good quality cabling (but not break the bank stuff)

Customer Service

Excellent, I have spoken with Victor (owner/designer of the amps) on several occassions regarding general questions about these amps or the VK-51 preamp. He is terrific and an asset to the specialty audio industry.

Similar Products Used: amps: Conrad Johnson, Pass Labs, Golden Tube Audio, Mark Levinson, Theta, Channel Islands (for comparison with the same gear - spkrs, CD player, but various preamps).
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jagpot   AudioPhile [May 07, 2004]
Strength:

Clarity, great mids, tremdeous bass, wide sound stage

Weakness:

couldnt find one

The VK P10 is in addition with the right new/old NOS tubes Telefunken E188cc and the Brimar CV1988 not to beat. The clarity in the mids and the strengthen of the bass with such an enormerous beat and a great and wide stage is the best i ever heard. For this price with a litte tune ups like the Combak Harmonics TU201 and the right interconnects like the Nordost Valhalla it presents the music quiet right. With the right turntabel like the Simon Yorke S8 you will find so much more music detail an rythm on these black dics never believed it before.

Similar Products Used: lehmann silver cube
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Nelson Borje   AudioPhile [Jun 22, 2003]
Strength:

Human voice at its best! Nothing beats it

This is my first valve amp. Previously I have been a Solid State guy due to the fact that SS are low maintenance. I do not want to fiddle around and spend so much time tweaking a system. But anyway, that is a different story. Now to the BAT story. I had this amp for a few years now and I must conclusively say that it has given me and my wife hundreds of hours of listening pleasure. Our small house is always filled with glorious music from dawn to dusk. After a long and stressful day nothing beats a relaxing time in front of a BAT system and soak yourself with beautiful sound. This is my therapy! It may not have the tight bass or a growl of a Krell or a Mark Levinson but the bass is equally impressive for a tube amp. Double bass sounds like a double bass instead of a cello. Viktor Wooten from the Fleckstones can shudder the walls of my house with his bass for all I care. Jeff Beck can wail his Strat with pleasure. But what it can do the best is portray the female voice. Jacinta, Eva Cassidy, Patty Barber sounds so real in my living room. Every nuance, breath and vibrato is so uncanny that I cannot tear myself away from their hypnotizing voices. This is what drawn me to valve amplifier. I believe that this is just not the work of one component but the system as a cohesive whole. I own a complete BAT system [VK60, VK51, VK5D] Speakers in the meantime is Monitor Audio Gold Reference 20 with a plethora of wires and cables from different audio industry. The system is plugged to a dedicated outlet with a 20 amp. This is a classic system that I will be using for a long time. There is no need to upgrade if you are happy with what you have. Be contented and enjoy the music!

Similar Products Used: The subterenean bass only bass freak craves.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
petro1511   AudioPhile [Jun 04, 2003]
Strength:

big soundstage, helps make my solos disapear.tight bass,smooth wonderful midrange. looks like the ny skyline when you play it in dim light.

Weakness:

scared to really push it due to past problems.had to cover the hypnotizing blue light on front with a piece of tape

when i first bought this amp it kept blowing the same fuse over and over again.it was very frustrating, so after i went through all the extra fuses that it came with ,i sent it back to bat ,an ordeal that cost me $75 to ship & insure, i was not very happy about this considering it still wasnt broken in.then i got it back and it kept blowing the same fuse , so very upset i called bat. and they said it must be the tube, so i said, where can i get another tube( thinking that maybe they would give me one ,for the hassle) that didnt happen so now i had to find the tube and that cost me $70.so ive owned this amp for 6 months before i broke it in. now it is running right i am unhappy with bat. but the amp is unbeleivable the mids, great bass ,wonderful huge soundstage.and once i upgraded the power supply it was way better, i just put 2 mullard tubes in the front end and WOW! this is the best amp i heard anywhere near the price. if you buy it make sure its a newer model it has alot of upgrades from the older ones(ive heard the diffrence).my system vpi aries/jmw 10.5/grado statement bat vk-3i w/ valvo tubes vk-60 platinum solos aq caldera aq python harmonic tech cr. silver phono cable also be aware that the fuses they sent me were not slo-blo,which the manual said to use. ive since bought slo blo fuses. and its finally purring like a kitten

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
quoc   Audio Enthusiast [May 25, 2002]
Strength:

Excellent build quality and value (at second hand prices). Solid bass, smooth midrange.

Weakness:

extended highs but not natural

I must say my experiences with the VK-60 is mixed. I particularly like the style and the build quality of the amp, which is very very solid. Having owned many tube amps, the self biasing is a very nice feature. I had high expectations on the VK-60, as I have listened to quite a few single ended triode amps on my Cornwalls and an older NHT model 2. The bass notes are very strong, detail and transparency is excellent, rivaling the best I have heard on my system. The music generated by the VK-60 is effortless, and the amp suits well with all kind of music, jazz, classical, blues, rock and pop. I was disappointed with the highs: they are very extended, may be too extended, and I found the treble notes a bit unatural, especially with violins (I play violin). I must say that the Cornwalls are likely not the most synergistic speakers for it: some amps tend to accentuate the etchy highs of the treble horn on the Cornwall. So roll in the trusty NHT and now the highs are better but still not the best I have heard. I also own a pair of Fourier Panthere monoblocks, an OTL single ended design that also uses the 6c33 output tubes as the VK-60 does. The Panthere in my view is clearly a better amp, may be the bass is not as solid, but the midrange and treble are smoother, more natural and transparency is for sure one notch up. More important, the music is more emotional with the Panthere.

Similar Products Used: Futterman H3 OTL, Western Electric type 91 monoblocks with 300B, Fourier Panthere OTL, Wright sound 2A3, GAS Ampzilla, B&K ST140, Luxman MB3045 triode, Altec 1570B Tutay mods, Dynaco mk3 GSI mods.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Phil Dodds   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 11, 2000]
Strength:

very pure range,bass,build quality,visually appealing

Weakness:

none

I'm a tube "newbie",but the vk60 is a very good performer at all listening levels and types of music.Currently I have one vk60 in stereo configuration,but I've heard mono vk60s and was very impressed.The heat developed from the unit could overheat some rooms,so that is a consideration.Plus I was told it is advisable to run a dedicated power circuit for the system.I have the vk3i pre amp which I'am very happy with also.My Wife likes the visual appeal of the tube layout which is a plus for some "file guys" trying to get equipment into the house! BAT is definantly a quality unit.So if you like great music reproduction,spend the money and you won't be disappointed!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Philip O'Hanlon   [Oct 30, 1999]
Strength:

great high & low extension. Stunnig midrange

Weakness:

pricey for a pair of monos

As good as the stereo amp is, the monoblocks are stunning. Added dynamics, transparency in the mids.

I used these for two years with the Dunlavy SC IV and later the SCIVA. Boy was I disappointed with the IVA; lower, deeper bass indeed but at the cost of integration, did not sound as complete as the original.

On vinyl, Patricia Barber's "Too rich for my blood" would generate a whole rush of emotion in the listener. We are talking about involvement; forget about the technology - enjoy the music. Soundstage is great, but I am more a truth of timbre person, the instruments really sound fleshed out.

BAT service is superb, I bought mine on the SH market, shipped them 18 months later to the factory complaining that of the the amps made a crackling sound while warming up. They not only replaced all of the tube sockets, but also replaced some of the input & output tubes and modified the circuit boards to the latest spec. as well as new shipping boxes. FREE OF CHARGE !!

Their tube preamps & CD player are also worth checking out - great synergy. Given the right speakers a system to enjoy music all day and long in to the night.
Viva BAT !

Similar Products Used: CJ Premier 11a, VAC PA 80/80, VAC PA100/100, ARC VT200, BAT VK500, Krell FPB 200, Halcro monos, Chord SPM 1200B
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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