2016 July HiFi News Review of BHK 300 mono's - very, very good


#1

Hi Paul and Co.

Another great review, this time from the UK.


#2

Thanks Frank.

If I’m reading correctly, a couple new statistics (no mention of the driver or output filter capacitance) :

  • peak output current of 46 A for the BHK Mono’s (implying on that basis 23 for the Stereo)

  • SNR of 85


#3

Thanks for uploading this. Nice to see 390 watts into 4 ohms but I’m surprised they only gave it an 87 out of 100 for sound quality.


#4

The Brits are pretty conservative. I was shocked too until Bill pointed out few have ever gotten about 90.


#5

Just as a point of reference regarding their sound quality rating of 87, they also recently reviewed the latest $16K 625 S2 amp from Rowland and here is their summary and rating:

"This is an impressive amplifier that can be highly recommended to audiophiles wishing to build a luxurious system without having to auction the family jewels. It sounded truly fabulous driving my speakers, delivering the tight control and ‘grunt’ of a muscular solid-state Class A/B power amp while concomitantly exhibiting the charm and tranquility of a pure Class A SET tube design. I loved it to bits."
HI-FI NEWS VERDICT
Sound Quality: 87%

I also don’t recall them ever rating any amp higher than 90, so an 87 rating is about as good as it gets! happy-048_gif


#6

Very positive review; another feather in PSA’s cap! I too wondered about the ‘87’ so I appreciate the explanation there.

The reviewer goes on at length about the power and dynamics that the amps deliver. Well, a set of 300 wpc monoblocks should provide power and control in spades. He does say that the BHK 300 is “not wanting in finesse.” I would like to hear more about other aspects of the amp. For many years I’ve run a tube amp (Golden Tube SE-40) that has a wonderful, rich, sweet midrange. Voices sound so . . . human. Timbre of instruments is just right (but not ‘tubey’ in the classic sense). But it does now feel like time for a change, and I think a BHK 250 might be the amp to do it. I’m sure it would give better bass and probably better soundstaging. The tubed input section might give me the tone quality I’m looking for. Any comments from those who have a 250 (or 300)?


#7

I’d agree that HiHf News are conservative - If all the really, really good products out there got 95+ then people would be be wringing their hands about the last 5 points. Saying well it “only” got 96 whereas Blah got 97

It would be like wine tasting… it already is in some ways - The review is very, very positive and it backs up what people have been saying about the ability of the amplifiers to bring music alive.


#8
magister said Very positive review; another feather in PSA's cap! I too wondered about the '87' so I appreciate the explanation there.

The reviewer goes on at length about the power and dynamics that the amps deliver. Well, a set of 300 wpc monoblocks should provide power and control in spades. He does say that the BHK 300 is “not wanting in finesse.” I would like to hear more about other aspects of the amp. For many years I’ve run a tube amp (Golden Tube SE-40) that has a wonderful, rich, sweet midrange. Voices sound so . . . human. Timbre of instruments is just right (but not ‘tubey’ in the classic sense). But it does now feel like time for a change, and I think a BHK 250 might be the amp to do it. I’m sure it would give better bass and probably better soundstaging. The tubed input section might give me the tone quality I’m looking for. Any comments from those who have a 250 (or 300)?


Well, I have a pair of 300s, of course I am biased, but are there any questions I can answer? This amp clearly has the sound of tubes with the power of solid state.

#9

Thanks, Paul. “The sound of tubes with the power of solid state” is perhaps all one can say in general; so I need to hear it. But even within the tube family, some designs have a bit more of that tube magic than others, and I’ve always thought the SE-40 was in this category.


#10
magister said Very positive review; another feather in PSA's cap! I too wondered about the '87' so I appreciate the explanation there.

The reviewer goes on at length about the power and dynamics that the amps deliver. Well, a set of 300 wpc monoblocks should provide power and control in spades. He does say that the BHK 300 is “not wanting in finesse.” I would like to hear more about other aspects of the amp. For many years I’ve run a tube amp (Golden Tube SE-40) that has a wonderful, rich, sweet midrange. Voices sound so . . . human. Timbre of instruments is just right (but not ‘tubey’ in the classic sense). But it does now feel like time for a change, and I think a BHK 250 might be the amp to do it. I’m sure it would give better bass and probably better soundstaging. The tubed input section might give me the tone quality I’m looking for. Any comments from those who have a 250 (or 300)?


I have recently purchased a pair of the 300’s. I think they are now playing music beautifully. I believe they exceed the sound quality, musical delivery and have as much control, bandwidth of several acclaimed Australian amplifiers I have owned in the last 2yrs or that I still own.

I do think in my short listening time (<2 weeks) the 300’s have got the blend of valve and SS just right. I hate to say it, but in my system, even if the “numbers” don’t add up to be the biggest & best the sound is better.

See below for more details of the amps I am comparing the S300 to. These are both ClassA valve(push-pull) and also high powered/high current (Class AB) SS dual mono amplifiers. I’ve included specs for the “little” SS ME850, my current one is the ME850HC (bigger storage capacity) and I used to own its even bigger brother the ME1400 (5KVa transformer) larger again storage capacity. Capable of 100A delivery.

http://www.customanalogue.com/ go to KT88/120

capture1.JPG

and one of the Mono blocks(Right channel) : http://www.westonacoustics.com/page007.html

capture1-1.JPG

BIGG SS amps

Capture2.JPGME-850frontview.jpg


#11

I’ll say it again. If someone isn’t completely enamored with the 300’s performance either their system isn’t up to the level the BHK can create or something is off on their system or listening skills. The 300’s are better than any tube or ss amps I’ve heard by a long shot. Another analogy is putting a Ferrari engine on a Mercedes sedan. It may only be a slightly better than the stock engine because the Magic and responsiveness is being masked by the limits of the sedans chassis. Put it in a McClaren and you’ll know what’s it’s capable of, if one cares to admit it.


#12
emailists said ...If someone isn't completely enamored with the 300's performance either their system isn't up to the level the BHK can create or something is off on their system or listening skills...
I disagree. There are better amps out there than BHK300, you just need to pay a lot more money for them.

#13
brodricj said
emailists said ...If someone isn't completely enamored with the 300's performance either their system isn't up to the level the BHK can create or something is off on their system or listening skills...

I disagree. There are better amps out there than BHK300, you just need to pay a lot more money for them.


Absolutely +1

#14

As well as owning the BHK-300 mono amplifiers I also have Constellation Hercules II Mono Power Amplifiers and Altair Pre-Amp… The Constellation amplifiers are excellent, very musical and a wonderful combination - but the ‘BHK-300s are a league above’!

One could accuse the BHK casework of being utilitarian compared to the Constellation’s casework. ( - ‘although’ - ‘the Constellation case work is, well, just big lumps of grey’ ! ) But I see that as just down to personal tastes… I actually like the BHK’s visual look. And the BHK casework is solidly constructed. As is the Constellation’s casework - but at a price!

In magazines and in general I think there is too much emphasise attached to the cost of a product; it’s as if a product that costs much more then it has to be better, better built, and that it contains within it specially selected components that differ greatly to a perceived, cheaper built product… The BHK-300s are very tidy inside and the amplifiers are constructed to a very high standard with the same high quality parts throughout - as are the Constellation amplifiers; ( Constellation isn’t as tidy inside! ) BHK-300s cost roughly 10% of the Constellation Amplifiers and the BHK-300s are definitely better…!

In the same HiFi comic the Constellation range was awarded 90% for sound quality, but that included the Pre-Amp; - whereas the BHK-300 Mono amplifiers were judged attached to the DSJ:

…There is a magic with the BHK-300s and as great as the Hercules II/Monos/Altair perform - they just can’t attain the musical levels of the BHK-300 mono amplifiers…


#15

Wow, Dirk, that’s quite some praise!


#16

Dirk, great insight. I guess the pool of better amps Brodric spoke of just got smaller.

My point is that most likely the 300 isn’t the limiting factor in someone’s system.


#17

Just wait till you hear the BHK amps with the BHK preamp. I kid you not, it’s like magic, at least with the BHK 250. No pun intended, they were made for each other.


#18

.wglenn: I can’t wait for the BHK Pre-Amp to be released… I’ve pre-ordered one… Yes - the BHK-300s are truly special… Don’t get me wrong, the Constellation amplifiers are equally special; …but the BHK-300s are better… One thing I should make clear. When I said the Constellation amplifiers were reviewed in the same magazine - I should state - it isn’t the current edition that the 300’s are reviewed in - but a few years back and just prior to me buying them…possibly 2011 or 12? I was astounded when I first heard the 300 monos abilities pitted against my vastly more expensive Constellation amplifiers…! Yes, the BHK amplifiers are outstanding instruments, and outstanding value for money…


#19

Thanks for all the replies, guys. If the BHK 300 can equal or surpass such world-class competition, I’m sure its little brother will do very well in my more modest system.


#20

Mine certainly does. I can only dream of the BHK300s, and the space for them even if I could afford them. Can’t wait for my BHK Preamp to ship.