A Nice Note from Thad
I received the BAT VK-33SE yesterday and took it home and put it in my system last night. The preamp was beautifully packaged and appeared to be brand new. I was unaware a remote would come with it, and I thank you for including it. Do I owe you money for the remote? Please advise.
A funny thing . . .
After I very carefully hooked up the preamp and set it to work, I instantly noticed the sound which should have been coming out of the left speaker was coming out of the right and vice-versa. This perplexed me. I spent far more time than I'll admit on my knees swapping cables, reattaching speaker wires, etc., checking gear and pretty much driving myself into the deep end of the pool before I finally went to sleep last night. (And yes, an hour before sleep I cheated and simply flip-flopped the connecters between the preamp and the amp to get the proper L-R, R-L sound stage.)
This morning I got up and unplugged every connection and wire and did what I should have done in the first place: read the manual.
On p. 20, there is an instruction about "resetting" the preamp to original factory specifications. I followed the procedure and voila, the sound stage was instantly corrected. I have no idea why the preamp initially presented an inverse sound stage (in terms of L and R and vice-versa), but resetting the preamp corrected the issue.
Even after only a few hours of use, and with no "break-in" of a week or weeks, I can report to you that the VK-33SE is VASTLY better, in every significant way, than the Audio Research LS-17SE preamp I traded in.
Qualities and trademarks of the VK-33SE over the LS-17SE:
The depth of the sound stage;
The width of the sound stage;
The clarity of the sound presentation;
The quietness of the sound stage when at rest;
The ability of the preamp to enable the listener to clearly hear and delineate individual polyphonic lines (from, in this case, Bach's B-minor Mass) amidst a vast and complex array of choral and orchestral and organ lines;
The power, purity and depth of the bass (a near religious experience--Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, with the volume up where it belongs);
The sweetness and beauty of the overtones in Maureen McGovern's voice on sustained high notes (The Moon's a Harsh Mistress, The Coming of the Roads, The Circle Game, On My Way to You; all are near-religious experiences);
The seductiveness and beauty of Tierney Sutton's voice (and the gorgeous bass entrance) in I'll Be Around.
The silkiness, clarity and depth of the strings in the lead theme to Lonesome Dove.
The washed-window clarity of the baritone, the depth of the sound stage, the clarity and position of each instrument and each voice in It Works by Alabama.
The perfect beauty of the individual voices, the intake of breaths, indeed, almost their heartbeats, in Under the Stars by the group Voces8.
The sound of Murray Perahia's fingertips gracing the Steinway as he plays the opening notes to the Andante movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto #23, and the perfect beauty of the English Chamber Orchestra as it answers Mozart's opening statement. (The second movement of Concerto #23 is, in my view, perhaps the most perfect, and perfectly beautiful, piano-orchestral music ever written.)
The accurate playback of my own recordings, my own works.
The VK-33SE is the real deal. It's worth every penny and maybe a bunch more. I've only heard one preamp in one system--an all-Spectral system from about ten years ago--that clearly matches the clarity, silence and purity--and the bass--of the VK-33SE.
I have not heard the VK-53SE or T-Rex. I have heard the Audio Research LS-27 and the Reference 5 preamps, but not the LS-28 or the new Reference 6. The VK-33 SE, in my view, walks all over the LS-27 in every category, and is in a race to the finish line vis a vis the Reference 5; it would take a long time, I think, for most critical listeners and trained musicians to objectively determine whether the Ref 5 is better than the 33SE or vice-versa.
So . . . thanks for fair dealing and a fair price and fair business regarding my trade-in of the LS-17SE and your sale to me of the VK-33SE.
I'm a happy guy. Thank you.
P.S.--You have my permission to publish all or part of this note in your advertising, as you see fit. TWD