With a whopping 300 watts per channel on tap, the dual-mono Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) VK-655SE is indeed a beastly power amplifier—but with great power comes the need to properly handle it. Whereas many amp makers taking the dual-mono approach include separate power-amplifier channels in a single chassis, or even dual power-supply sections to minimize interactions between the left and right channels, BAT takes it a step further. For the VK-655SE, the Delaware manufacturer includes dual power-supply units within the chassis and gives each one its own transformer and mains-cable socket. This design essentially makes the VK-655SE two separate monophonic power amps encased in one enormous chassis. It weighs almost 140 pounds, so prospective owners will want to make sure their hi-fi rack can withstand such weight.
BAT uses top-quality parts throughout; perhaps most notable are the premium oil-filled capacitors (the same ones the company uses in its flagship REX II preamplifier), which provide this solid-state amp the ability to render low-level musical details with nuance and delicacy comparable to those of a fine vacuum-tube amplifier. The VK-655SE’s massive power rating (300 watts per channel into an 8-ohm load, or 600 watts into 4 ohms) enables it to support even the most power-hungry loudspeakers. And for those craving even more power, BAT can configure the VK-655SE as a stand-alone monoblock amplifier, so that owners can purchase two of them as a pair, with one amp per speaker. The company also offers a stereo to mono kit that allows owners to convert the dual-mono amplifier to a monoblock in less than 30 seconds. In either configuration, each VK-655SE is priced at $16,500. (www.balanced.com)