The VK-50SE Story
The performance of any preamplifier, tube or solid-state, is going to be determined to a large degree by the amplification device used. The advanced design of the Balanced Audio Technology's VK-50 balanced vacuum tube preamplifier gets maximum available performance out of the industry-standard and highly respected 6922 vacuum tube.
Developing a preamplifier capable of performance superceding that of the VK-50 would, therefore, require a new amplification device with performance characteristics unobtainable from the current supply of existing vacuum tubes. Our search led us to discover a unique tube totally unknown to the West, produced exclusively for use by the Soviet military. Until the summer of 1998 this tube was banned for any export. As soon as this ban was lifted, Balanced Audio Technology obtained the exclusive rights to this new device.
Named 6H30P-DR, this incredible tube sports a unique and impressive set of performance characteristics, until this time unavailable in any vacuum tube, new or NOS. It represents the latest in vacuum tube development, since it was designed many years after the popular 6922, for a very stringent set of requirements.
The 6H30 tube has a plate resistance that is four times lower than the 6922's. It also has higher transconductance, with the resulting gain being just slightly lower than that of the 6922. It can not be used as a direct replacement for the 6922 tube, however, and Balanced Audio Technology has developed a proprietary circuit designed specifically for the 6H30P in order to unleash its true potential.
Using this new "SuperTube", we were able to design a preamplifier that produces astonishing results. Because of the tremendous potential that the 6H30 offered, numerous elements of the overall circuit had to be taken into consideration so they would no longer become limiting factors in the unit's overall performance. The power supply was substantially improved and beefed up. Special larger toroidal power transformers were designed. The best Vishay Bulk Metal Foil resistors were incorporated for plate loading. The size of the output capacitors was tripled. The combination of all these changes produces a unit that we are now proud to offer as our first Special Edition model. Its measured performance, and more importantly its sonic qualities, vastly exceed those of the already stellar VK-50.
Best of all, any VK-50 can be upgraded to a VK-50SE at any time, presenting a built-in upgrade path that has made Balanced Audio Technology famous for customer satisfaction.