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Old 01-23-2018, 03:57 PM
Amadave Amadave is offline
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Default BAT Standard vs SE Models

I am looking to add tube amp/preamp to my system. One of the brands I am considering is Balanced Audio Technology. I have heard their products playing through my speakers and very much enjoyed it. I heard the 55SE amp and the 33SE preamp. Recently BAT released the 56 series of amps. In the market, I can acquire the 55SE and the standard model 56 for about the same money. The 56SE is quite bit more. My question concerns the differences between standard and SE models. On one hand, I would I would like the latest and greatest, but if the SE package is a significant upgrade, I might would go with the discontinued SE version. Has anyone a comparison of standard vs SE? If so, is the difference worth it?
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:10 PM
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Formerly YB-2 Formerly YB-2 is offline
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Only with the VK-33 series of preamps. I'm a fan of the 6922/6JD8 tube, so prefer the standard series with 6 of them compared to the SE version with 2 of the 6H30 tube. Can always add the 'SE' items like 6-pack caps, etc. Not sure what else, but if like Conrad-Johnson, the SE version will use teflon coupling & power supply caps, which are quite expensive. To my ears, the SE version of the CJ is noticeably superior to the standard version. If were me, would go with the VK-55SE. Listening to the SE and standard version side-by-side at the dealers may not show same. Teflon caps need an unusual amount of time to form/break-in. The last set of teflon caps I used were horrible for the first 200+ hours and only truly broken-in after twice that. But, the sound was well worth the wait. As always with BAT, give them a call and talk to them about the differences. My experience is that they are always happy to help. Also, believe the standard amp can be upgraded to the SE at some later date if you want to go with the latest version.
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:11 PM
tom_hankins tom_hankins is offline
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I've always preferred the SE models from BAT. I've owned the VK-60 and 75se also the VK-D5 and D-5se CDP, the VK-P10 and P10se phonostages.
If I was you I would go for the 55se, one great advantage to that is they come up used and adding a second down the road and using monoblocks is a cheaper option. Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:23 PM
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Default BAT VK-33SE Owner

I recently purchased my first BAT product, a VK-33SE preamplifier. I was unable to compare it to the VK-33, but was compelled to invest the extra coin in exchange for the transformer-coupled outputs and 6H30 tube gain stage. I find Formerly YB-2's observation regarding the VK-33 (standard vs. SE) interesting and have no basis to dispute it. In fact, I think it is encouraging to know that the difference between the two may be just a matter of preference. My impression is that all of BAT's preamplifiers are thoughtfully designed and well-built, so getting into a VK-33 at $3k less than the SE may be a very attractive proposition to many.

Last edited by JoyfulNoise; 02-03-2018 at 03:03 AM.
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