BAT preamp: Rex to Rex-2 upgrade

So I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my BAT Rex preamp to the Rex-2. I thought I'd give a little report for those who already own a Rex and were thinking of upgrading also.

First thing I noticed right out-of-the-box was this is one DYNAMIC preamp! Dynamic scale has been noticeably improved and it isn't subtle. Slight dynamic swells and shifts of energy are much wider than before and the dynamic ceiling sounds as it could be endless The Rex-2 also makes significant strides in audio improvement to sound-staging. There is now a greater difference between direct sound and ambient sound. So now the sound space sounds bigger and airier while the images in that space now have more solidity. Other notable ( hi-fi ) areas of improvement come in the way of extended frequency response, both hi and low. Bass is now more potent, tighter, deeper, with better delineation. Treble with a week of break-in is now more detailed, airier, with a greater sense of speed. This quality now allows me to hear the initial attack with increased clarity and A-R-T-I-C-U-L-A-T-I-O-N.

For me the original Rex was the standard setter when it came to timbre/texture of tone. While all the improvements I heard above are certainly really good things, without the liquidity and organic presentation of instrumental tone, in the long run it wouldn't matter for me. I don't mean this in the audiophile way of being warm and euphonic. It is meant to mean, vibrant and true to life, dense and rich with natural realistic tonal color.

Yesterday, in my 40 years of being into this hobby I had one of the most enthralling and musically satisfying days I can ever remember listening to music. The texture I was hearing was so captivating, so undeniably true sounding, my emotional connection to the music so strong, every note was simply magic!!! I wish musically rewarding moments like these for all.

Cool moments indeed Tom! That's what makes this hobby so much fun! Thanks for sharing your impressions of the Rex-2, I'm sure it is stunning! Enjoy!

Thanks John! I'm very fortunate. Hope you are well and we get a chance to meet someday.

Thank You! Tom for your report.
Keep us posted on your listening pleasure(s) as the REX 2 settles in and opens up.
Awww, you guys are great!!! Thank you for the well wishes John. I know you've been busy with your system over the last 2-3 years and I'm sure those Rockports are sounding fabulous!!!

Hi Sam. When you can do the upgrade. In the world of hi-end audio it is well worth it. Promise!

Thanks very much for posting these impressions, I have been mulling this upgrade over for some time, and now feel more confident about moving forward with it when I have the chance. Thanks!
I have used the 51se, 52se and Vkph10se phono. I do like BAT gear it is so well built and Victor was always a great help. BAT is not supported in the UK so I have had to move on.
Sounds like you are really enjoying your upgrade well done on a good decision.
Hello Jafant.

Will do. I was told 450 hours before the REX-2 will show its true (full) sonic identity. In my experience I have found break-in to be a real phenomenon.
So far the treble has been the area of most improvement. "Open up" is exactly how I would say it. As the break-in process evolves, the sound becomes more relaxed, opens up and breathes.

Hi Kevin.

My pleasure. You know how we like to celebrate a new piece of good sounding equipment! Especially when the improvement it makes is exceptional as this!!! Hope you get to do the upgrade soon.

7,500 - Note: an upgraded REX to REX-2 fully represents a brand new unit, both cosmetically and any (new) internal parts. Very pricey for me, but beats the pants of having to sell an old unit and buying a new one. The upgrade is substantial which is most certainly reflected in audible improvements.
Another increase in resolution of detail around the 250 hour mark!!! I'm besides myself.
Hi Tom,

Can you remind me of your current system?
Do you have a treated listening environment?


Hi Sam! No problem.

EMM Labs: Dac-2 and TSD1 transport
BAT: Rex-2 preamp
BAT: Rex mono-block amps
Avalon Acoustics: Eidolon Diamond speakers
Nordost: Valhalla interconnects, speaker cables and power cords throughout
Finite Elemente: Pagode Master Reference equipment rack and Zoethecus amp stands
Room treatment: 3 tube traps, corner tunes, and rugs hanging on the wall .. lol.

Sam, the REX-2 preamp is a must if you can swing it!
Hope all has been well with you.

Hi Tom,

I've been fine...hope the same with you!

Sweet system :-)
So, the REX II has transformers...sort of a Neve thing? ;-)

I have an Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk. 3.2 and am looking to acquire four Atma-Sphere amps...likely MA-1 Mk. 3.2 (Silver Editions, if possible -- I like the chassis!).

Then, I can do a straight-up comparison between the BAT and Atma-Sphere driving the MegaLine III.

I think that should be a LOT of fun!

Anyone else do the upgrade? I'm seriously considering (about 90% decided) sending mine in for the upgrade while I am out of town in September.
I have owned both (we are a BAT dealer). The Rex II is definitely more Transparent sounding - that is the first thing I noticed, some people might describe it as being more dynamic, which is also true. I prefer the Rex II in that it is still very musical, like all BAT gear - but offers more transparency, detail and dynamics. Enjoy...
i just  upgraded to BAT Rex II preamp.  Huge upgrade!!.  Definitely worth the upgrade.  i agree with prior comments.  I find the highs and mids are better.  More airy and spacey on the top .   Even more detailed.  I loved the original rex preamp, but this is definitely a major step up.  highly recomended.  also great team at BAT.

Thanks! for sharing- easternize

what other gear including cabling is in your system?

Happy Listening!

Glad to hear you're enjoying the upgrade! How many hours do you have on it?  It has been 3+ years with my REX 2 and I'm still loving it!

just received it back and have probably 25 hours on it.  i use ayre cd player and vpi turntable with whest MCV phono preamp, and use Revel salon2 speakers with bryston 28b-sst2 amps
Thank you Jafant. 

As for many of us the system has been  a work in progress . Since the listing of my system in this post I've been lucky enough to have made other significant  improvements to an already fine system.  I don't think with my age & financial resources I'll be taking it much further.  Thankfully for me I've reached a point where the sound is so complete and natural it is consistently musically and satisfying.