CES 2013: King BAT

Shown with one of my favorite sub-$10k loudspeakers, the Aerial 7T, Balanced Audio Technology was showing off their newest reference-class bits. The REX II Preamplifier ($25,0000) …

… now features a transformer-coupled output stage. This Transformer-REX (code-named T-REX internally) replaces BAT’s venerable Six-Pak of output capacitors with custom-designed amorphous core transformers, encapsulated into proprietary mu-metal shields. These new transformers significantly improve the REX II preamplifier’s ability to drive low impedance loads while providing substantial sonic benefits. The two-chassis REX II desgn with its robust eighteen tube architecture features BAT’s highest current Unistange gain block. This Unistage design does not rely on cathode followers or any global feedback in its purist approach to amplifying the incoming signal. The 6H30 SuperTube is employed in this elegantly simple Unistage design to provide maximum linearity and the lowest distortion possible.

Also introduced was the REX II Power Amplifier ($19,900 each) “remains the same all-triode, zero-feedback, fully symmetrical design”, yet “substantially improves its gain stage architecture to extend the benefits of vacuum-tube current-sources to include both the first and second gain stages of the circuit design. Moreover, the current-source for the second gain stage in the REX II Power Amplifier can use either a 6922, 6H30, or 6H6 vacuum tube. This allows each user to final tune the … sound to best meet their individual needs.” More specs will be forthcoming as the amp hits production.

Other new bits from BAT:

The VK-53SE Preamplifier ($15,000), a replacement for the outgoing VK-52SE, “incorporates the same [amorphous-core] transformer-coupled output stage as featured in the flagship REX II Preamplifier. Just as with the REX II, the low impedance drive capability of the VK-53SE is greatly improved.”

The VK-33SE Preamplifier ($9,995), replaces the VK-32SE, mirrors the advancements in the two higher-end models, bringing a new custom transformer-coupled output stage, which also provides better performance driving low-impedance loads. The main difference, if I had to guess, is that the transformers are not “amorphous core”.

The VK-33 Preamplifier ($6,995), which replaces the VK-32, gets some new power supply transformers and new case work consistent with the rev/upgrade to the line.

Shown at CES with a Playback Designs MPS-5 ($17k), an Avid Acutus Reference turntable ($25k) mounted with an SME-5 tonearm ($3,500) and a Dynavector XV1 ($5k) cartridge. Kubala-Sosna Elation! cables used throughout.

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