Opinions: Used BAT VK-51SE or New VK-23SE

Looking for any BAT owners out there that would have an opinion on which piece I should go with.  I can get a used VK-51SE for slightly less than a new VK-23SE.  The 51 is from ~2003 if my google searches were correct.  The 23 is obviously newer which means newer technology.  But that 51 was their top dog back in the day and all the reviews I can find rave about it.  The 51 is factory refurbished as well.

I'm leaning towards the 51, but would appreciate any thoughts BAT owners would have.  
I should have put the rest of my chain.  This will be for my 2 channel, which is currently running from my Emotiva XMC-1 processor.  The BAT would become my Preamp for all 2 channel then:
Emotiva XPR-2 Amp
Focal Electra 1028 BE II tower
JL F113 sub
All I can say is that running a BAT preamp with Emotiva power amp will result in a very dry, without good top end extension and hard to listen to at higher volumes.It would be good to get a warmer sounding pre to go with the Emotiva amp. In my opinion. McIntosh is the first name that pops into my head but their are others (Audio Research, Modwright,)that would give you a warmer more natural sound and much more musical overall. I have owned the BAT 31se with 6H30's and was highly unimpressed, "super tubes" Good thing BAT is the only one who has these tubes "super dry" if you ask me.

Matt M
I've been using a VK-300SE integrated around 13-14 years and I love it. Not dry at all. Just sounds like music. I did spring for the NOS "DR" 6H30 tubes which make a difference.
As for OP, I'd be looking at a used (good luck) VK-33SE.
Uncle Kevin is ga-ga over it. Watch youtube video and find out why.
@mattmiller , ahhh, now I see why you were calling Nordost and Morrow cables "neutral" on that other thread.
I do believe that they would sound very good with warmer components like McIntosh and Dynaudio. The upper midrange/ lower treble emphasis on those silver clad copper cables would offset the warmish balance of your amp/speakers and probably "balance out" very nicely.

Anyway, to this thread, I have owned 9 pieces of BAT gear over the years (none in the past 10 years though), but "dry" is not a term that I would associate with the BAT gear that I have owned.
Sure, there are warmer/sweeter sounding preamps, there are also preamps that offer higher resolution (dryer sounding?).
Personally, I currently own Audio Research preamp, and I do enjoy it, but I would say that it is "dryer" sounding than the BAT VK-51SE that I owned years ago.
The higher resolution of the ARC mates well with the warmth of my Pass Labs amps though, it’s all about synergy.

Most folks like to balance resolution (dry) with warmth in their systems, though we go about it different ways. Some prefer drier cables with warmer components, some drier components with warmer cables, etc.
There are many ways to achieve a similar end result.

Bottom line: If presented with the choice between a VK-51SE and a VK-23SE, I would choose the VK-51SE, as I will take almost any tube preamp over almost any SS preamp.
I did own a tubed BAT amp (VK-75SE) and a SS BAT amp (VK-600SE w/ Super-Pak), and I preferred the sound of the VK-75SE.
@dweller I saw Kevin's video which is what turned me onto BAT.  I was looking into the Primaluna Dialogue Premium when I saw his video about the VK-33SE.  That one is out of my price range, unless I find a used one.  And I haven't seen one...

The Primaluna is right in the sweet spot for my budget.  The BAT's I'm looking at will be at the very top end and won't leave any room for cables.  If I could find a preamp in that 3k to 3500 range, I leave myself money for some good cables.  Once I get over $4k, that extra cash is not so available. 

Any particular McIntosh or Audio Research preamps you can suggest in my range?  Used is not a problem for me.  

Also read very good things about synergy between Accuphase and Focal.  But not sure I'll be able to find any Accuphase Preamps even used in my price range.
Any particular McIntosh or Audio Research preamps you can suggest in my range?

What is it that you are looking for? Point us in a general direction.
Are you looking for more resolution, or more musicality?
Normally you have to decide which direction you want to go.
As you get warmer/sweeter sound, you tend to lose resolution, and vice versa.

Also, do you really need the 300 wpc that the Emotiva XPR-2 amp puts out?
I ask because your speakers seem fairly efficient, and perhaps a nice integrated amp may be the answer.

Perhaps a BAT VK-300(0)SE as @dweller mentions above, a Pass Labs INT-150, Coda CSiB, or a McIntosh Integrated amp (too many choices to list) would provide even better results than mating any preamp to your Emotiva amp.

If you do need all of that power, the Coda CSiB puts out a hefty 400 wpc into 8 ohms and 800 wpc into 4 ohms!! They do pop up occasionally for about $3K used.

Integrated amps would save you money on your cable budget too.
My recommendation would be to get a BAT VK-300SE (plentiful in the $2000 range) and plug in a pair of the NOS 6H30 "DR" tubes ($600/pr). I've been using this platform for years and I love the sound. You can, if you wish, use it as a preamp (has preamp-out) or as an integrated (150/300 WPC 8/4 ohms).
If you love it as much as I do, you can sell your Emotiva to reduce costs. If your Focals allow bi-wiring, keep the Emotiva and have a bi-amped monster system. Plenty of options... 
Warmth is definitely what I'm after.  I feel the Focals resolve so well that if I lost a little to gain in musicality and warmth, I'd be fine.  

An integrated is definitely a possibility.  When I was looking into Accuphase, that's the route I was looking.  Just don't think I can get into an Accuphase with my budget.  I haven't looked into the BAT integrated, I will research that.  Good point on the integrated as a preamp, leaving me an option to potentially sell the Emotiva to offset cost.
Well all 4 that I listed, BAT, Pass Labs, Coda, and McIntosh are on the warmer side of neutral, as is the Accuphase that you mention.

Accuphase E-470 are certainly rare on the used market, but they do pop up once in a while for around $5-6K. While that is a bit more than you were looking to spend on a preamp, it may be attainable considering you could sell your Emotiva power amp, and an integrated amp would require fewer cables/cords.

There is currently an Accuphase E-307 Integrated amp w/phono on Audiogon listed for $2,400 used.
There's also a BAT VK-300SE listed for $3,025, which seems a bit high to me.
$3,025 for "Factory Re-certified; Warranty" is too much? Why?
BTW, Has a MM phono board installed...
My recommendation would be to get a BAT VK-300SE (plentiful in the $2000 range)

That's why. $3025 is about 50% more than the going rate for one of these units. Now if you want to pay 50% more for a certification and/or MM phono stage, that's fine.

BTW, if you go to the TMR website you can find the same unit for $2824.
But feel free to pay more, some have no problem spending more for the same. ;^)
jmcgrogan2, The OP asked for opinions on the BAT pre amp, I guess I should clarify what I meant when I used the term "dry" when describing the BAT sound. Of all the pre amps I have listened to and purchased and re sold, it was the BAT that was cold, uninspiring, and no beauty of tone, don’t look for musicality either....Sure there was great bass and dynamics but with enhanced mid range and no high frequency extension what so ever. 

P.S. I’m sure using a BAT power amp would change a lot of this for the better, but thats not what the OP is going to experience and nor did I. Also, I use Nordost SPM these were used by many back in the day for their transparency with natural and proper (sound staging, instrument placement ect...) sound. Cardas has to be some of the most colored cables ive heard ( to give you an idea where my ears are at) and Analysis Plus cables have accentuated bass and are very colored to me. Kimber Kable is very neutral in my system and sounds very good, Audioquest also. MIT’s sound beautiful but dynamics and leading edge attacks suffer, for this reason I use the Nordost with Morrow because they pair well, otherwise I might be using all MIT’s.

Matt M
Matt, I don't totally disagree with your findings, and thank you for better describing "dry".
I do agree that the BAT's strength is power and dynamics, but I'm not sure about the " cold, uninspiring, and no beauty of tone, don’t look for musicality either".
Yes, I will say that the BAT was not as sweet and musical in the midrange as other preamps I have heard (CJ, Cary, McIntosh (as mentioned by stereo5), etc.). However, the BAT's I have owned fell about middle of the pack in the warmth, beauty of tone, musicality viewpoint.
It's all about synergy though. Perhaps I would have had your same BAT impression had I been using cold, analytical cables like Nordost with the BAT like you did.

In the end, the final sound is a combination of the entire system.
Probably the reason you like cables from Nordost and Morrow (which both use silver plated copper which I find to be too thin and cold sounding for my tastes), is because you use very warm components like Dynaudio speakers and McIntosh amps. I'm sure that if I went with warmer components I might have a better appreciation for Nordost cables.

I think we all look for a nice, balanced tone, how we get there may be very different though.

A used BAT VK300  has popped up on here for a great price. But I'm trying to figure out if that is worth the cash or should I save some money and get the 3000 SE?  Or wait for a used 300 SE in the same $2200 range.  

Is the 3000 SE worth the extra money over the 300 SE?  Anyone compare the two?

I,too, am interested in auditioning the B.A.T. VK-3000SE integrated.
If/when I find a demo, I will post here.

Happy Listening!

John and others. I'm currently running vk-30se with vk-600se and I'm happy with but probably will have an opportunity to upgrade to vk-51se but this cost some money. Question it it that is sonically justifiable ? I'm mean .. will I notice the difference with my JBL L300 speakers?