Anyone run ARC vs BHK Pre? Difference?

Shopping for the elusive perfect preamp. I understand that until I get it home, I’ll never know 100% what is better than what but thought I ask if anyone has had similar experience. I’m looking at the BHK but also ARC: LS27, 28, Ref 3,5. I read in an article the topology is somewhat similar in a BHK and LS-27 so that that started me thinking.

The signal is coming from a server thru a detail oriented upsampling DAC. Then to the Pre and out to Pass Labs amp then on to Wilson’s. I’m 100% streaming.

Any advice/insight is certainly welcome-thank you.

No wrong choice in your list, having heard them - but never at the same which allowed comparisons.

Happy shopping and please let us know what you decide.


Thank you Elk. Hoping to keep all the detail but not add any “bite”. Too lush = mush. Too much detail and piano solo stings at all but low volumes. The ARCS would be used of course. Only other avenue I could follow would be order a Calypso…

I can watch TMR. But so many great products like BAT for example of which I have zero experience…gets overwhelming a bit. Still fun though :slightly_smiling_face:

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It is overwhelming.

I also like the BAT products I have heard. :slight_smile:

Good piano reproduction is near impossible.


Hummm, a choice between chocolate, vanilla ,and strawberry. I’ve owned a few preamps in my day, and right now I run an Allnic all tube preamp. -Simply stunning, but next week I might think differently. I bought mine used from a dude moving “up” to an ARC Ref 5. I was on the preamp merry-go-round for many years, but have been happy with the Allnic for 3-4 years and not looking elsewhere.

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Yep. I had an Allnic I got from TMR quite a while back. For some reason I sold it but it wasn’t the sound or quality. If one showed up, I would take a gander for sure.

I’ve owned ARC in the past, although none of the current models. I happen to use my BHK pre with a Pass X250.5 and that match has been superb, if that helps. One thing I’m less than enamored with is ARCs decision to baseline the 6H30 for its newest design. I have yet to warm up to a 6H30 preamp. I’m partial to tube types like the 6922 and 12AU7 for which my choices aren’t restricted to Russia, Russia and Russia. I’ve got a stash of NOS 6922s and 12AU7s for my BHK that will last me for the rest of my life. Yep, I’m partial and that’s one of the reasons an ARC from the current lineup isn’t in my rack.


BHK300’s (100,000Ω Input Impedance) in system through ARC LS28 balanced connections (600Ω Output Impedance) for 25 months. Good match electronically - no surprise sounds terrific.


Ah ha… Yes thank you that may help. I have an X250.8.

I’m not sure I follow you in depth on the 6H30 but I currently have a line on a LS27.I believe the 6H30 made its debut in the LS28? Also I have heard that previous ARC was more tube like and now a bit more SS in delivery…

I think the match should work well on the .8? Input Impedance (SE & BAL Kohms): 50/100

My amp = Input Impedance (SE & BAL Kohms): 50/100. Sounds like that should work on BHK or LS-27 I believe.

Actually it was the LS-25 Mk II, I had one for several years. Nice preamp but the DS straight into my BHK250 sounded better. Ended up with the BHK Pre so I could use analog inputs. That was an improvement again.

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Tried a REF5, but the BHK was a better match with my Pass XA60.5

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Great insight thank you. I believe I was told your amp(s) and mine have a similar sonic signature unlike for instance the X350. I have a line on a Ref 5 but a lot of $$ for a amp with years on it vs warranty.

Electrically no problem with either so it comes down to features (e.g., BHK has a built-in headphone amp, ARC does not), which, if either, sounds better in your system & cost.

700 ohms Balanced, 350 ohms SE Main

BHK Signature Preamp

AND, the headphone amp in the BHK is very underrated.

Thanks Ron. I kinda like loud sometimes so I prefer to damage my hearing from a distance so I gave up cans (lol). My other boxes are- display read from listening spot, remote (that hopefully does not look like it came with a toaster) and XLR…

THANKS to ALL who has chimed in so far. This has been helpful…


By no means was the REF5 bad, it’s just that the BHK was even better. Not night and day difference, but enough that you can tell (my wife heard it even more than I did). Plus, the BHK is typically a bit less $ on the used market, so win-win.

I could’ve lived very happily with the REF5 though.

Thank you. That makes sense. The BHK used is 3400 to 3600 typically with warranty remaining and a Ref 5 is 6500 or so with years of use on it. One ARC I’m looking at has 2800 hours. Not near EOL by any means but a two year old unit with warranty that sounds as good or better has to be a consideration.

OK. Well I am going to be hooking some stuff up tomorrow and listening thru the weekend and if this does not work out I’m blaming you guys!

Seriously though after much consternation and some great input from the forum as well as disregarding a couple PSA naysayers (former dealers) I made a choice which turned out to be two choices.

I got the BHK Pre. I think that is a better choice than an older ARC. There were other possibilities as well but budget plays a role and some of them were megabucks.

So while I was at it, I also got the DS Sr. That way they can chat with each other.

So server to Sr, Sr to BHK Pre, Pre to Pass and Pass to Wilson. I’m hoping this all gels. This should suit me fine and I’m done!. Well, I guess there is a Mk II coming out. Then there are BHK mono blocks… Oh bother… (lol)

Thanks again to all who chimed in!


Please report after your initial listening!

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