BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) VK-500 Fully Balanced Amplifier

$2,799

There are two things that immediately strike you when you come in contact with the VK-500.

It's massive - and it's heavy!

With a 19″ width, 10″ height, and 23″ depth, this amplifier is no easy piece to move around. Add 105 lbs. to the equation and you'll need a partner to move this “thing” around, unless you want to send yourself to the hospital courtesy of a bad back. This is an amp that sits on the floor and not in a rack.

The VK-500 is a fully balanced design and a dual mono configured amp, which is why you'lll only find a pair of XLR inputs and two IEC connectors on the back. There are two huge transformers in the center that power each amp, where it delivers 250W in 8 ohms or 450W in 4 ohms.

Of course there are many more technical features that went into the design of the VK-500, which we'll leave to you to read up via the web. We'll just focus on our listening experience with this VK-500.

When paired with the VK-5i (for sale in a separate listing) and driving a pair of Focal Alto Utopias, the soundstage and imaging was nothing short of magnificent. The Alto’s bellowed out every song with gusto, warmth, and emotion.

When we switched the amp over to a “renowned” Class D brand that was capable of producing 500W, the difference could not have been more glaring. There was a big drop right in the middle of the soundstage.

The “renowned” amp was a matchup in terms of detail and definition, but it lacked a “soul” behind the presentation. And that's where the strength of the VK-500 lies.

It features the “colored richness” of tubes, but packed with the punch of solid state - even when we switched out the VK-5i and went with a solid state preamp.

If you can deal with the size and weight of this “monster”, the VK-500 should be on your short list.

Click here for a PDF copy of the BAT VK-500 Owner's Manual 

Our Testing Process for Amplifiers (Solid State) at SkyFi:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage.

We then power up the unit carefully and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise. Finally, we run the amplifier to its full rated power into the appropriate resistive load provided by our Sencore amplifier tester. If there is an issue, it will usually be noticeable at this point. If everything reads clean, we will often test for THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) measured by our Keithley distortion meter, and compare it against the original manufacturers specifications. The amplifier then remains powered on to "burn in" on our test bench for a few hours to make sure there are no heat related issues. If there are balanced inputs available they will be also be tested.

Final testing involves pushing actual music thorough the amplifier. We've learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage Kef speakers that we're very familiar with which quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some amplifiers will then move into our listening room where they are tested with our in-house reference speakers of choice.

Please click here for detailed specifics regarding our specialized packing process that separates us from the rest.

Item

Included

Original Box

No

Manual

Yes

Remote

N/A

Cables

Yes - Power

Physical Condition

8

Working Condition

10

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