Amplifier Options for DirectStream DAC

Hi all.
I’m looking for advice on amplification for my DirectStream DAC. My speakers (Tekton Design Encores) are quite sensitive (96 db, 4 ohm). I’m currently running the DS directly into a pair of PS Audio M700’s. Now I’m looking for some of that tube holographic magic. I’m considering either a BHK Pre which I would run into the M700’s or a BHK 250. I would run the DS directly into the 250, since I can’t afford both the Pre and the 250.

I’d really appreciate any thoughts on which option might be best. Other suggestions are welcome as well.

BTW, I’ve put this post in both the DAC and Amplification sections since it deals with both. Apologies for the redundancy.

Thanks in advance.

I’d get the BHK Pre. The M700s are outstanding and you can tube roll the pre to tweak if you want.

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That would probably be my suggestion as well, although either one would be an improvement.

The other thing to think about is the consensus that the DSD improves with a pre between it and the amps.

I believe that if you want that tube sound, you have to start with the amplifier.

The BHK’s (Pre and amps) are all hybrids. They don’t sound all the tubey to me. They just sound great.

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A good few PS’ers run DSD -> BHK Pre -> M700s to exceptional results. I love what the Preamp does when paired up with the DSD, plus the M700s are world class amps already, so I wouldn’t consider them a weak link in your system at all.

Just my two cents - keep us updated on what you decide!

I’ll side with the BHK Preamp. I preferred it to the DSD direct to my BHK 300’s.

I have the Monoblock version of this new amplifier, and it’s the best amplifier I have ever heard. Period. Another member here has the first of these amplifiers ever built and he loves it. (I am using mine with two Decware preamps, Joe is using his without a preamp, we are both using DirectStream DACs). I think it will drive your speakers well, others with Tektrons use the amplifiers in this line.

These amplifiers have a seductive presence and a detailed but musical sound.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Lonson - I actually tried the Decware integrated (6 watts/channel) and found it congested at higher volumes. And that was with my more efficient Tekton Double Impacts (99 db). So, I’m interested that it is working for you. What are you using for preamps? I considered the Decware Pre but could find enough reviews, so didn’t want to risk it, given their 10% restocking fee.

Also, does anyone have any reactions to Don Sach’s tube amps and preamp. I’ve great things about his products.


My SE84UFO3 Monoblocks are rated at 2.7 watt per channel and I am using them with the Decware/Turning Point Audio HR-1 speakers which are 92.5 db efficient and I’m in a 24 x 36 room with an irregular ceiling (sloped to a vault in the front, lower and ‘flat’ in the back. I don’t get congestion at high volumes. The Decware Integrated is quite a different amp. … I had one. … didn’t keep it too long. I can see that may have given you some congestion, the EL84 tube type tends to be more “compact” sounding than the very fast SV83 I use in these monoblocks.

I’m using three balanced sources (DSD DAC, Oppo UDP-205, Magum Dynalab 90T SE tuner) into the Decware ZTPRE preamp, then balanced out from that into the Deware ZBIT transfomer/converter, and single-ended into my Decware ZROCK2 and then single-ended to the CSP3-25th Anniversary modded preamp/headphone amp and then single-ended to the Monoblocks. There’s surprisingly very little “noise” to this setup with all these tubes. A few years ago this set up would scare me, right now it makes the best music I’ve had in my room.

Runned my DS directly into ARC Ref 75 SE with very good result, but putting the ARC Ref 6 inbetween opened all up, no contest at all.

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I have two systems, one with a Decware SE84UFO. It’s 2 itty bitty watts pushing ZU Audio 96db speakers and it’s delicious.
And I know you want The Tube Sound, but if you can, I would also audition anything that came out of the mind of Nelson Pass. He makes one seriously forget the tube/solid state argument–at least he did for me. I’m on my second one and I’m a happy boy.

I have a Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2. Purchased it in May 2018. Great preamp. I was down to choosing between the W4S and PS Audio BHK. The STP-SE come in various grades, priced between $2K, and $3750.

I also have high end tube buffer, so garnering the tube sound from the BHK wasn’t paramount in my buying decision.

I would start with the Preamp first if you are happy with the M700 and Tekton combo. The Wyred 4 Sound is also a great option.

The best thing I ever did with my system was put an ARC tube pre between my DSD and M700s. It added the perfect touch (for me anyway). My experience is a good quality pre does wonders and there are a few out there- the BHK being one of them.