Best use and hookup of the GCHA headphone amplifier vis-a-vis BHK preamp? - AKG Q701 Headphones, 32Ω

My home hi-fi system has reached a whole new level recently: an all PS Audio stack. Super nice; super thankful.

Now, where/how to include AKG Q107 headphones, a very nice, high resolution, neutrally balanced set of planars?

Having the BHK preamplifier has opened up options for the GCHA headphone amp + Digital Link (with Cullen Circuits upgrade). How should the sound compare (yes, I have some A/B auditioning work to do)? If the GCHA would be clearly superior to the BHK phones amp, then I’d probably prefer to hook it to the DS DAC, but like some guidance.

Plus, I cannot find output specs on the GCHA to get my thinking started.

So, wide-ranging options include:

  • Just plug the headphones into the BHK. <0.5Ω to the 32Ω of the AKG Q107. Not sure of the output power: 4W?
  • Connect the GCHA to either the BHK or Direct stream DAC or the Direct stream memory player.
  • Just use the GCHA connected to an independent source in the office. However, the hifi stack is already in the office feeding speakers in the adjacent living room, so it’s really about which will be the superior sound.

Fire away, and Happy Independence Day!

Keep in mind, the BHK HP amp takes a good long while to sound proper, don’t be hasty to discount it. It needs a signal going through it, not just powered.

Thanks, yes, I’ve left the system playing even when I’m not home, so it has at least 300 hours on it. I’ve also exercised the system at higher volumes. It seems to have stretched the system a bit and made it more limber, less veiled/tight. The speakers especially, which had ~1,000hr on them, benefitted from delivering high dB that they had not performed before.

And yes it’s also time to get empirical and hook things up for an A/B.

Exactly where would you connect the GCHA?

I would use the GCHA in another system or location so I could have great sound in another place. Or I would gift it to a young person with a passion for music.

The best placement will come down to synergy with the source and the AKG. You’re going to have to try them all. Hopefully, one or more are markedly better or they are all the same and you can simply enjoy the music.

Thanks. The sound quality is pretty comparable, so I will be putting the GCHA in another location.

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