Sunday, March 25, 2007

BAT new preamps

Balanced Audio Technology has announced new family of line stages to complement the solid stage model VK-42SE. On top of the line sits an eighteen-tube, two-chassis REX replacing model VK-51SE. BAT claims quite revolutionary approach for overall power supply of REX, and power module comes with 10 tubes.

According to BAT's marketing material, "REX incorporates a unique feature that allows the user to optimize its sound, tailoring it to one’s individual taste or system requirements. The vacuum tube current sources incorporated in REX, being part of the signal gain stage, have a direct impact on the unit’s sound. Changing the tube type used in that circuit, allows the user an extra degree of control over the final sound achieved. In its standard configuration, the REX current sources use the Russian 6C19 tubes. This tube is basically a miniature version of the famous 6C33 tube, and provides, in our view, the best combination of sonic characteristics and electrical performance. However, the unique design of REX allows you to also use other tube types as current sources. Currently (no pun intended), the user has the following three choices for vacuum tube current sources:
  1. The standard 6C19 tube current source (installed at the factory).
  2. The 6H30 SuperTube current source (which requires the purchase of the X-PAK accessory).
  3. The 5881 tube current source.
In order to change the tube type, the user needs to remove the installed current source board, replace it with either another board (designed for a particular tube type), or install the 5881 tubes as a direct plug-in."

The other new line-stages are VK-52SE (no details yet), the VK-32SE (see picture), a successor to its highly regarded VK-31SE, and non-se version VK-32. All these line-stages use new capacitors about which BAT is excited. The VK-32SE has the same tube rolling feature than REX (the standard 32’s module utilizes a 6C19) and the VK-32 in its part trades a smaller power supply and fewer of new caps against a lower price.

Interesting point is that after pretty much everybody in audio business has started to use Victor Khomenko "discovered" 6H30 tubes (e.g. Conrad-Johnson + Chinese manufacturers), BAT feels compelled to move on towards 6C19 tube.

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