Beta testing the new BHK Preamp


#1

Last week we shipped most of the BHK Beta units to eager customers. Hopefully they love them as much as we do, and don’t find too many issues!45_gif

But, they are beta units. So we want this to be a public beta where our laundry’s spread out to dry in public, good,or (gulp) ugly.

It’s always nerve wracking when your children are sent out into the world on their own to see what’s up.

Bring it on!


#2

Exciting!

I cannot wait to see the reports.

Do not forget to give the headphone amplifier a serious workout.

And, if you have a DS, please compare with and without the preamp between the DS and your amplifier.

Let the βeta begin!


#3

Well, I already have a comment: I really like the packaging. The unit comes snuggled between two tightly stretched sheets of plastic film within a very secure box. While it doesn’t have the ultra-fancy gift wrap one might expect from other audio companies, I greatly appreciate the simplicity and functionality of this packaging AND the lack of a bunch of nasty foam blocks. Very recycling-friendly (not that I’d toss this box while I still own the unit).

Also, the backlit remote is very sleek - easily the nicest PS Audio remote I’ve ever seen. IMK31699.jpg


#4

Cool!

I like the hammock style packaging as well. Very slick.

Now plug the damn thing in!!! :slight_smile:


#5

Manual edits:

Page 1, Outputs: “Please be advised that the XLR output has twice the output voltage as the RCA input.” Should read, “. . . RCA output.”

Page 1, Unpacking the Unit: “Use the included cotton gloves . . .” My unit had no gloves included.

Page 2, Warranty Registration: “. . . go to www.psaudio.com and click on My PS > Register Products”

            “. . . go to the PS <strong>Audio</strong> website and look at the <strong>My PS > My Products</strong> page”

            “Full warranty information is included <strong>at the end of </strong>this manual.”

Page 2, Connecting to Analog Sources: Delete comma in “connect via the balanced, XLR if possible.”

Page 2, Assign Input Names: Delete comma in “later in this manual, for details.”

Page 4, Front Panel Logo Standby Button: “In addition, the outputs are also turned off leaving only the unit’s critical internal solid state circuitry active.”

Page 4, before Custom Naming, add Setup Mode: “Once selected, hold the selector button down for 3 seconds to enter the setup mode. Setup mode allows you to customize each input and features multiple screens accessed by pressing the selector button.

The first screen is balance. Pressing the selector button again toggles to the Trigger screen. Another press displays the Version screen and so on. Each screen is addressed is the following section.”

Put the sections in the order in which they appear on the unit.

Page 4, Custom Naming:

Continue toggling through the screens until you reach the input name screen (the fifth screen). By default, the inputs are named Input 1, Input 2, and so on. Hold down on the selector button until “Edit” is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.

Page 5: BOLD the bit about the escape character and what it does.

Page 9, Trigger Settings: Delete comma in “ . . . to turn on the BHK Preamplifier, will also turn the rest of the system on.”

Page 14, Hum Busting: “. . . department store-type outlets . . .” or just remove ‘type.’

Remove single quotes around ‘matching transformer’ or switch positions of the single quote and period following ‘tranformer.’


#6

Issue:

Input naming screen: You cannot edit a character in a input name without re-typing the entire name. This does have the benefit of encouraging you to use short names. It might be nice to have a hyphen (-) available - if you’re naming your inputs using model numbers, many of those feature hyphens.

Issue:

While this doesn’t really bother me, I notice that the PS Audio logo buttons on my PWT (early model), my DS (PWD kit rebuild), and now the BHK SP all have different brightness levels. I’ve chosen to stack them in descending order of brightness. Be prepared for complaints or to offer button upgrades.

-Pb


#7

Here’s my initial thoughts after listening for several hours today (more to come) :slight_smile:

Incidentally, I too am in love with the remote and the functionality-by far the best/classiest PS Audio remote and seems to kind of tie in all of my other PS Audio components (DS, P5, P10, BHK monos, and now the pre).

THIS UNIT IS LEGITIMATE folks-like right out of the box legitimate. It’s of course, getting better as it starts to burn in a little, but WOW, just WOW.

As of late, i haven’t had my BHK signature amps hooked up-i’ve been listening to torreys beta on my ARC Ref 10 and Ref 610t amps-sometimes i like to mix it up when i’m auditioning DS OS changes, so that’s what i had hooked up until this morning, when the (very well packaged) pre arrived.

So i went to work kind of “full on” PS Audio’ing my system again-hooking the BHK mono’s back up, pre, speakers, DS P10s, etc. This is essentially a full PS Audio system at the moment (minus my Alexia speakers of course).

OK-turn everything on, pick out something new i’ve downloaded from native DSD, turn on roon, really not sure what to expect…

I guess the best way i can put how this sounds is - “wait, i had a fully tubed system just hooked up, but now do i have the fully tubed system still hooked up? I disconnected the ARC Ref 10, right? This sounds really really good ???” BHK has nailed it with the preamp. I dare say that this system rivals how my ARC preamp sounds, with very expensive (and rare) russian tubes I rolled in it. To me, the BHK mono’s come alive now-i’m literally excited to listen to the mono’s again and a bunch of music this weekend. Strings sound more like strings to me now, pianos sound like pianos, etc., and the bass is without saying. The system sounds 100 percent better with the pre. It seems like the “tube experience” i was hoping for in the BHK mono’s (and got, but still went back and forth with my ARC equipment), is now literally fully realized with the preamp. I bought a couple of tubes to roll in the pre-but as i’m listening to this, literally i keep asking myself, is it possible it could even sound better? I am very pleased with this preamp!

THANK YOU Paul, BHK, and PS Audio team-what a wonderful product this is going to be-I’ll report again after i’ve had a chance to fully listen to the system over the weekend :slight_smile:


#8

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Thank you! What a great way to get started on the Beta testing. Keep us informed.

goofy-heart_gif


#9

Very exciting! I’m looking forward to the reports, and getting my own (signed by BHK) unit once regular production begins.


#10

Paul, are the clicks that are audible when adjusting volume intentional? If intentional, can that feature be defeated?


#11

Intentional? Well, yes, in a sense. Let’s suggest they are the best we can do. There are small clicks to be heard when ramping the volume up and down - and a small jump between several major points along the way you might have noticed too. This is the only “downside” to this amazing engineering feat of a volume control.

Remember, we’re changing the actual gain of the tube as well as changing the input pad at the same time.

Hopefully it’s not bad - I have just gotten used to the tiny clicks myself.


#12

Any chance either the unbalanced or balanced outputs can be configured as a fixed output (bypass the volume control)? In my case, I would prefer being able to configure the unbalanced as a fixed output. My Current Rogue 99 allows for either of the two outputs to be switched as fixed or variable. I use one as a variable to drive my BHK 250 and main interior speakers and the other as fixed input into a Music Hall integrated amp to drive outdoor speakers. This setup provides great flexibility to set the volume for each set of speakers.


#13
patentpending said

I guess the best way i can put how this sounds is - “wait, i had a fully tubed system just hooked up, but now do i have the fully tubed system still hooked up? I disconnected the ARC Ref 10, right? This sounds really really good ???” BHK has nailed it with the preamp. I dare say that this system rivals how my ARC preamp sounds, with very expensive (and rare) russian tubes I rolled in it. To me, the BHK mono’s come alive now-i’m literally excited to listen to the mono’s again and a bunch of music this weekend. Strings sound more like strings to me now, pianos sound like pianos, etc., and the bass is without saying. The system sounds 100 percent better with the pre. It seems like the “tube experience” i was hoping for in the BHK mono’s (and got, but still went back and forth with my ARC equipment), is now literally fully realized with the preamp. I bought a couple of tubes to roll in the pre-but as i’m listening to this, literally i keep asking myself, is it possible it could even sound better? I am very pleased with this preamp!

Uh oh. Am I going to have to start saving my pennies to replace my beloved ARC LS26? The BHK is as good as the REF10?

Gaah. I take a break for jury duty and come back to find this.

Can I cry now?

I’m just trying to figure out how I can justify it to my Spousal Unit. (Maybe I can sneak it in when she’s off to a Comic Con like she is this weekend in Phoenix selling her comic.)

Anyone want a used LS26 with spare matched tubes?

–SSW


#14
amsco15 said Any chance either the unbalanced or balanced outputs can be configured as a fixed output (bypass the volume control)? In my case, I would prefer being able to configure the unbalanced as a fixed output. My Current Rogue 99 allows for either of the two outputs to be switched as fixed or variable. I use one as a variable to drive my BHK 250 and main interior speakers and the other as fixed input into a Music Hall integrated amp to drive outdoor speakers. This setup provides great flexibility to set the volume for each set of speakers.
You can set any of the inputs to be fixed volume level and you can set what that volume level is. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to keep the inputs variable and fix just the one output.

#15
Streets Still Works said

Uh oh. Am I going to have to start saving my pennies to replace my beloved ARC LS26? The BHK is as good as the REF10?

Gaah. I take a break for jury duty and come back to find this.

Can I cry now?

I’m just trying to figure out how I can justify it to my Spousal Unit. (Maybe I can sneak it in when she’s off to a Comic Con like she is this weekend in Phoenix selling her comic.)

Anyone want a used LS26 with spare matched tubes?

–SSW


We’ll make you a sweet trade in on your ARC if you want…105_gif

#16
Paul McGowan said Intentional? Well, yes, in a sense. Let's suggest they are the best we can do. There are small clicks to be heard when ramping the volume up and down - and a small jump between several major points along the way you might have noticed too. This is the only "downside" to this amazing engineering feat of a volume control.

Remember, we’re changing the actual gain of the tube as well as changing the input pad at the same time.

Hopefully it’s not bad - I have just gotten used to the tiny clicks myself.


No, they’re not bad at all. Thank you for explaining what they are.

I’ve been focusing on the headphone amp first. The unit detects of the insertion of a headphone plug and automatically switches output from the speakers to the headphone jack. This is very slick! When the plug is removed, the output switches back to the speakers.

Would it be possible to automatically engage the mute when the headphone plug is removed? This would help to prevent unfortunate “sonic events” during late-night headphone listening sessions.

-Pb


#17

Not a bad suggestion - instead of mute, though, which can cause some serious confusion, maybe we drop the level to 25?


#18
Paul McGowan said
Anyone want a used LS26 with spare matched tubes?

–SSW

We’ll make you a sweet trade in on your ARC if you want…105_gif


So what do you do with other brands of equipment that you take in on trade? I assume that you sell it somewhere.

#19

We do, yes. We have a fellow that moves all our trade ins - and he does a great job. If you’d like the name of his company, let me know.


#20
Paul McGowan said Not a bad suggestion - instead of mute, though, which can cause some serious confusion, maybe we drop the level to 25?
It would be better than nothing, but I think the "M" that appears on the display is sufficient to notify the user that the unit is in mute. If you're concerned this will cause confusion, a way around that would be to automatically disengage the mute when the volume is adjusted as that is a natural thing to do when there's no sound.

Also, if you’re swapping between pairs of headphones, getting the volume reset to 25 every time you make a switch might get annoying.

-Pb