BAK Vk-60 amplifier

Victor Khomenko 60 W - that is what VK-60 stands for. One of the first, if not the first amplifier that uses 6C33C super tubes outside of Eastern Block.
Who knows - maybe even in USSR they did not make amps like that before BAT, because this was a strictly military tube.
When the Americans stripped down the first MIG25 which defected to Japan back in the 60ties, they nearly fainted ! The whole superfighter jet was tubed.
The 6C33C  was the power regulating supply tube.

Anyway - the guys from BAT knew this tube from home country and decided to shock the mainly EL-34 world by something - the world never saw. A tube capable of doing 1A of anode current without sweat , a double triode capable of 25 watts in SE with just 350 V of anode supply. No more 1200 V like in 845/805/211 tubes.

The only company I know of who also used it - and also in USA and also from Russian designer - was LAMM of Mr. Shushurin. I am not sure who was first but definitely - BAT was cheaper.
For close to 6000 bucks for SUCH AN AMP - the VK60 is a bargain really.

As an aficionado of 6C33C I had to try the BAT. My loooong time dream.
After the BAT arived at my friend's it turned out to be much biger than I imagined. It is a massive piece of amp.

First - the looks: it looks very good. There is no chrome, bronze, marble, nor brass in sight.  It is screaming: "Money spent on engineering". Frankly - I like it a lot.

At closer inspection, it makes very solid impression. Nothing is flimsy, nothing vibrates, fit and finish are superb. I like that !  The ventilation is more than adequate - because these tubes DO GET HOT and tend to overheat interiors of other amps. Not the BAT.

I have two more comments - one, that as a stereo amp there is too much weight in one piece. I would prefer two smaller monos.
Second problem is that we can't possibly use SE input from CD or preamp. The balanced system makes sense only fully balanced and that's how I evaluated it.
At the front end I tried TEAC VRDS X25 fully lampized as balanced source. That CD is one of the best sources money can buy, especially with Audiotuning chips upgraded, all premium capacitors, superclock Trichord4, e801cc Siemens supertubes in SE triode anode folower config and Burr Brown PCM1704 quadrupled DACs and middle of the range VRDS mechanism. What a player !

The preamp was sometimes the BAT's own VK-3i SE and sometimes - the stepped resistive attenuator with remote  from DIYCLUB.BIZ.

Cables were XLO and Nordost Blue Heaven.

Speakers were three way DIY Altec Lansing with 5 Ohm impedance, two 15 inch bas units per side, one 15 inch biflex midrange and Altec Horn tweeters. Speakers were wired with Siltech all over.

Under the cover - things look even better. The PCB is a nuclear war kind of strong.  The parts are premium but not in the blackgate territory. There are individual fuses with access from the outside per each tube. THERE ARE LED indicators of proper tube functioning. I am really impressed.
Frankly - I never saw an amplifier this good.  Consider me hooked.


The BAT plays as it looks - it's sound is solid, honest, strong, deep, tubey, - all that in a good sense of these words.
I like that sound. It is detailed, not aggressive, slightly pushed back, with adequate height, width, 3-d effect, etc. Music flows easily. Trebles are not grainy. There is no noise or any nasty effect. It has the tube magic of SET but with much more power, grunt and drive.
While the BAT did not throw me on my knees the way Ongaku does, or even Verdier 845 - I think it is a terrific value for money. A true all rounder about which nobody can complain and it should provide reliable service forever.  This kind of machine - for circa 2K - 3k - 4k on ebay - it is a steal. Recommended without reservation.
BUT ... (not BAT)
having said all that - I was so nicely impressed when the passive PRE was used. With the matching BAT VK3i - I was less sure about it.
The BAT pre is a bottle-neck of the system, with its mediocre sound, sterile and cold presentation. Not REALLY bad, but not good enough. As I wrote elsewhere - I suspect the electronic volume control could be to blame. Or maybe I am wrong.
Also - there are better BAT preamps out there - especially those starting with 5 in the name code. Anyway - in my system - the 200 USD passive preamp from Hong Kong beats the 10 x more costly BAT by an audible margin.

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