Balanced Audio Technology BAT VK-D5SE CD player with tubes

Written in 2006, updated in September 2010

This is one of the best CD players ever made. Well built, all design is optimized for perfect analog-like sound.
Digital output quality can rival the best transports. It goes without saying that it has balanced XLR and RCA outputs.
True balanced topology from one of the best designers in the industry. Four Burr-Brown PCM63-K DAC chips and tubed output stage.

Upgrading the BATVK5 SE ? How is it possible ?

The tubes have been upgraded from 6N30P to much better in my opinion 6N6P - more liquid, more smooth, natural, analog, true. A big difference confirmed by tens of users.
Tubes are 6 mo old, matched and tested. By comparison so called "super-tube" 6N30P sounds a little  harsh, flat and glassy.
The player was mint, bought in Germany, The sound has awesome authority, reality, 3-dimensional sound stage and thrilling "they are here" illusion.

PMD-100 digital filter with optional upgrade to much better after-market chip - Burr-Brown DF1704DE which can be added for 80 Eu from ASD-Audiotuning company from Germany.
It has more liquid, natural and bass-powerfull sound. It is a plug-in replacement - easy to do-  in the dill socket. In fact this mod transforms this player beyond recognition in very positive way.  Who needs HDCD anyway ?

Is BAT VK5D-SE the best player there is ?

Well, not really. It's sound does not beat some of my lampized players costing 10 times less. It is OK but there is something holding it back. I guess it must be the I/U conversion not optimized. and I think that 6H6P is not optimally chosen tube.  The product is in it's own way OVERENGINEERED.

The weak point is the Philips transport - it is very good sounding and reliable, but feels flimsy especially when the tray  opens - it is not soft and not smooth,
feels like a cheap drawer. You must accept it as part of the total package.  Original superb remote is fantastic. (original price 500 USD).
Total original price was 7500 USD plus USA to EU customs and shipping. My unit manufactured in y. 2000. Made In USA.

5 years later:

One BAT landed in my home for the HDCD chip removal and re-tubing.
I was very very impressed with the sound after the chip job. The BAT does something spectacular - it makes fantastic  3D show, it is the AVATAR  of CD players.
Probably it is the best stock player I ever heard (not counting separates).
And after looking inside hundreds of players - I must admit that the fact that BAT has a cheap Philips VAL1250 mechanism is a huge advantage. Sophisticated CD mechanisms are impossible to replace theese days.