If you are looking for a sub-$3,000 preamplifier that best showcase the wonderful sound of tubes, this is it. The VK-50SE is almost a statement piece now for under $3,000. At its original $7,500 MSRP, it was an easy rival to Audio Research’s Reference 3 preamp that retailed for $10,000. Of course the Audio Research was a bigger and better built unit with a more transparent and neutral sound, but the VK-50SE wasn’t far behind. It has a rich texture that simply draws out the layers of music and “adds” a vibrant color palette to the music. That strength in revealing the nuances of music is what makes the VK-50SE so captivating. There are tube preamps but they don’t slice and dice as cleanly as the VK-50SE, or at least not from a preamp at this pricepoint. Stereophile magazine called the VK-50SE the “high end bargain” and that is a spot on conclusion.
As you can see from the pictures, the preamp lived a very cushy life. Previous owner is an all BAT fan and has owned and still have several top end BAT components in his BAT system. We have the original remote and a BAT box (from a VK-51) that fits it perfectly. Manual is available online.