Balanced Audio Technology VK-3500 Integrated Amplifier REVIEW

October 25, 2021 § Leave a comment

It can be difficult to stand in out in the crowd when it comes to full-featured integrated amplifiers from well-known high-end audio manufacturers, high-performance units that claim to offer the sound quality of most separates at any given price point. It becomes more difficult once we cross the five-figure threshold like the Balanced Audio Technology VK-3500. You want more than a box with lots of lights and knobs for that kind of money. You want great sound.

Even the marketing copy on the BAT website suggests that you try finding separates for the same price as the VK-3500—we’re talking $6000 preamps and $6000 power amps—that can out-perform it. I’d accept that challenge, but my enthusiasm would immediately wane once you bring that phono stage into the contest. I’m not sure how much I would pay for this phono stage in an outboard version, with a presumably nice chassis and a separate power supply and perhaps with more access to gain and loading options, but it would be enough to qualify the VK-3500 as a superb value.

I’ll probably look back on my experience with the Balanced Audio Technology VK-3500 integrated amplifier and first remember the quirky phono stage, and how it qualifies as one of the finest inboard phono stages I’ve heard. But I’ll also remember how the BAT handled everything else, with extraordinary poise and just a shade of velvet.

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