Balanced Audio Technology VK-D5 CD Players

VK-D5

User Reviews (20)

Showing 1-10 of 20  
Janet   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 29, 2017]

My husband has one of these BAT Vk-D5SE CD players and have had no end of trouble with it. He sent it to the headquarters at least three times for repairs, spent lots of money to have it repaired, it was even upgraded in 2013 and since it returned in 2013 the tray refuses to work. He is tired spending money on this piece of equipment so it now sits like a white elephant in our living room.

Would appreciate any advice as to what could be the problem with this player as I really do not know if it makes sense sending it back to the makers of this piece of equipment as when it is returned it still does not work?

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Frank Walker   AudioPhile [Feb 04, 2010]

I have been in this game for about 40 years now , and my first set was anologe ,so making the switch was a trip trying to get digital thing wright. One day I stumbled over a review that a gentleman said that he wanted a cd player to go with his turntable thin it clicked. I had for a long time read about Bat cd player's, mainly the vkd5 because for my taste sounds more smooth. This unit replaced the Cary 303/300, and the Cary is no slouch , but the Bat is High end . With the wright setup,amp preamp speakers ,and great liquid smooth cable's,cd after cd, we're talking all night of the music of your hole collection just sounding so right. The soundstage is natural ,the top end is smooth with inner details and a midrange that is first rate. The bass is very tight,and layered. If I had one word to describe the Bat would be satisfied. All in all this is one sophisticated piece that also look great.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
S. Neri   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 21, 2008]
Strength:

Great realism and nuance to even the most sonically demanding material

Weakness:

None worth mentioning.

VK-D5SE
Running this vacuum tube CD player in an all-BAT set-up along with the VK-51SE preamplifier and the VK-600SE power amplifier. Extraordinarily clean and sonically balanced. Fantastic dynamic range. The attack and timbre of acoustic instruments is very honest and provide a truly captivating listening experience.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
WalkerTM   AudioPhile [Feb 16, 2007]
Strength:

Detailed Natural sound.

Weakness:

Reliability, quirky, this unit does not start up like it is suppose to.

This product has excellent sonics, but tend to work when it wants to.

This is an excellent sounding unit, with a natural easy going sound not found in many other players. What comes out of it is relaxed and very detailed. There is a lot of rich detail without the digital hardness that is endemic to CD.

Fit and finish are impressive, when you by this unit you thin nearly indestructible, so to say the least I was taken aback by the units lack of reliability. I have replaced the transport 2 times, re tubed it twice, and had some difficulty with unit powering up as it is suppose to. I recently had the SE upgrade applied and now have a continuation of quirkiness, it will play, but you have to coax it to.

Even though I will keep the unit for a while yet, I would not recommend BAT CD players, though they sound wonderful they are not reliable.

Customer Service

Not too helpful, BAT did not give me a price break on the third transport unit, Charge me a premium for the SE upgrade and the unit sounded horrible after they screwed up the firmware. They miss a lot of the details, the unit has never powered on correctly been back 3 times now and BAT still has not got he unit to run right.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
1
Toobz   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 14, 2003]
Strength:

Superb midrange, naturalness, highly musical and "right" sounding.

Weakness:

CD tray is flimsy.

This review is for the standard VK-D5. Eventually, I would like to compare it to the SE version, though it would be hard to believe that the SE can sound much better than this player with NOS tubes. When I first got this player, the first thing I did was pull the standard Sovtek 6922 tubes, and replaced them with 3 matched pairs of NOS Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8 tubes. Next on the horizon, I will be trying some Amperex 7308 tubes which are supposed to be fantastic. With the NOS tubes in place, this turns into one heck of a "redbook" CD player, among the best these ears have heard. The player allows me to listen to the music and lets me forget about the equipment. There is no harshness or brightness, and I can listen for untold hours without any listener fatigue. Detail, imaging and soundstage are all excellent, but let me tell you, the midrange is to die for...the palpability and realness of voices is fanatastic. The bass is very good, and I get all the the "slam" that I need. The highs are very good indeed, though this player is certainly tuned to the "warm" side, and if you're looking for the most extended highs, you won't get it here. However, cymbals sound very natural and exhibit a very natural decay with this player, which is good enough for me. All in all, I'm extremely pleased with the VK-D5. If you like the "BAT" sound like I do, you'd be happy with this player as well.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Chris   Audio Enthusiast [May 22, 2003]
Strength:

Beautiful mid-range, exceptional on vocals. Very untiring presentation. Tuneful bass, wide soundstaging. Great build quality.

Weakness:

Lack of bass slam. Valves run very hot. Flimsy CD tray. No SACD/DVD-A.

This review is of the SE edition. I listened to many other CD players when auditioning the front end for my system, and found myself constantly coming back to the warmth and smoothness of the BAT. In comparison to a Levinson No.39, the sound stage on the BAT was less up-front, with less brightness at the top-end and the vocals initially seemed less prominent. Extended listening revealed the BAT to give a more balanced view of the music, with excellent detail retrieval, and very unfatiguing during extended listening. The 39 still had more slam in the bass, but the bottom end was not as musical as the BAT. Krell KAV 280 was a notch below both both these players in overall performance. Overall for some rock music I can see how some might prefer the rawer sound of the Levinson, but for me on all music types the BAT won out, with the possible exception of bass-heavy dance music/reggae, where the control of the Levinson helped to compensate for radio-friendly emphasis on the bass. Compared with the analogue output of a Meridian 598, again the BAT was far more compelling, adding more authority to the music, and noticeably more detail. DVD-A through the Meridian was a big improvement-far better definition overall, tremendous bottom end, and detail, although still lacking the warmth of the VKD5-SE

Similar Products Used: Levinson 39, Levinson 390s, Meridian 598, Krell KAV280.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Maven   an Audiophile [Jul 19, 1998]

Could agree more with Sue. I auditioned quite a few CD players which are highly recommended but finally settled for the BAT VK-5D and did not regret it one bit. To my ears and those of other audiophile friends who attended the various auditions, it even beat a well-known 24bit player which received rave reviews. Well done, BAT.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
gjgoldy   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 03, 2001]
Strength:

Musicality, realism, accuracy

Weakness:

none yet

Mine is just broken in and I am thrilled. This is the regular version, but with the latest, October 1st, updates, including the removal of the HDCD decoding (It, like many of the other high end CD players, sounds better with all discs, including HDCDs, without the decoder, than with, so it was removed.)and new 24 bit technology. Before full break in, it sounded overly warm, loose, and undetailed (had me worried), but after about 75 hours (I just left it on without the pre-amp on for 4 days), it was very much improved, and at 100 hours it was a super-star. I later added balanced interconnects and was even more impressed with the VK-D5’s sound.

I compared this with a huge group of CD players, including some “Class A players”, and tried it in a few different systems. I even compared it to the famed Sony 777ES. The Sony, with regular discs, sounded OK, I guess, but like a CD player. It was bright and, if purchased, would have to have been modified to try to improve this. It seems many people do this to that unit and I know I couldn’t live with it straight out of the box. The BAT has all the clarity, punch, detail, air, space and liquid realism you could want, without over emphasizing brightness, or anything else for that matter. It is very well balanced. It is totally listenable and enjoyable for long periods of time with a sound that is so accurate that it makes you forget. I know piano and guitar. Believe me; it is dead on the money. And by the way, when I say accurate I mean like realistic music sounds from the 10th row center, not like the over detailed unrealistic sound of standing within the band and having your ear next to each instrument. That may be interesting for a while, but in reality is as ridiculous a sound as John Lennon singing out of one speaker while his guitar plays out of the other. It gets on your nerves.

I once was at a Santana concert, alone in the 4th row (I worked in the business for a while.) and almost dozed off. That happened not because I was bored, but because the playing of Carlos was so peaceful and involving that I was swept into an amazing state of relaxation while being thrilled by the music. I get this from the BAT. I forget there are electronics in the room. I don’t hear a CD player. I hear the band, orchestra, or singer. I hear music! As I said, this was all done with the current model with the standard tubes. As all manufacturers of tube equipment, they have to use the best tubes they can that are readily available now and for some time to come. I have heard that the VK-D5 sounds even better with NOS tubes or in the BAT SE version, but I intend to enjoy this version for a while, than surprise myself with a NOS tube or BAT upgrade down the road.

If you think you can afford it (I know it is expensive, but honestly well worth it.), new or used, you owe it to yourself to audition a fully broken in BAT VK-D5. Maybe I just lucked out in my match of gear, although I doubt it, but I bet you walk away with this unit on your short list.

If it sounds like I am very happy with it, I am :). I listened to it in stores for almost a year, then got this new model. For now, I wouldn't take any player over it, and wouldn't give it up for an SACD or DVD-A player. I would only add to it when they finally get their act together..

System:
Cary 805C amps
BAT VK-30se pre-amp
JM Lab Mini Utopias
Kimber Kable all around


Similar Products Used: CAL, Sony, Arcam, Wadia
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Robert   an Audiophile [Feb 10, 1998]

I have spent a long time auditioning all-in-one players and finally found the one I can live with. This decision was made after only 10 minutes of listening to my "reference soundbites". Definitely a piece that an entire system can be built around. Am getting ready to replace the tubes in the dac with Amperex 7308 JANs (an upgrade reccommended by BAT). To describe the sound would read like high-end audio ad copy; so I suggest finding a dealer that will do a loaner for a week. I did and am getting ready to sell my vinyl collection!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Sue K.   an Audiophile [Dec 09, 1997]

This CD player is another winner from the people at Balanced Audio Technology.I have had one for several months now and think it is well worth the money. It is smooth,has tons of detail and is very musical sounding. Also has impressive soundstage and lots of dynamics. The VK-D5 replaced a Meridian 508.2 which I would also highly recommend for those looking to spend a little less money. The only advice I have for someone auditioning the BAT player is to make sure it is broke in for at least a couple of weeks. In my 10 plus years of being an audiophile I have never heard anything sound so strange right out of the box as this one did! It was a long first week untill it really started to blossom and now it sounds wonderful. I would highly recommend giving this one a try!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 20  

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