Mulling over my next poweramp, and as a BHK Pre owner the 250 is in my sights.
(Or a McIntosh…but thats a different story…)
Am I likely to encounter any background noise/hiss from the BHK 250 as I’m using the amp with efficient speakers?
At the moment I’m using a 70 wpc solid state “stand in” power amp until I decide where I’m going next, and theres zero noise from the system with the BHK Pre in play.
I previously had a 300B SET and there was some noise, though that was on the valve amp I think.
Anyone else out there in PS Audio land using the BHK 250 with 94dB or above speakers?
Any experience of background noise due to gain structure?
My B&W 800 Matrix are 93 db per watt sensitive. I have NO hiss at all from the amp it is dead quiet. With The BHK preamp using the Tungsram 6DJ8 tubes hiss can be audible from my seated position at a distance of 12 feet. With the stock Psvanes, Gold Lion or Sylvania 12AU7 tubes I do not hear any his from my listening position. The BHK 250 is a great sounding amp that in my opinion sounds way better than any McIntosh amplifiers that I have ever heard.
You live in Glasgow? And since there is still no dealer network in Scotland, some seven years on from buying my first PS Audio product; why not contact UK distributor Kevin Akam and ask if you can arrange for a home demo unit to be sent up to Glasgow…
Asking various folks opinions, once again, is unclear and nebulous…
It’s a lot of money over here ($11,000) for a BHK250. You need to hear the BHK250 in your system.
When I asked Paul McGowan about the dearth of PSA dealers in Scotland - Paul told me Kevin was actually doing something about it - visiting Scotland that very week, that was one year ago…! ‘I don’t disbelieve Paul’…
Thanks very much for that guys, very helpful and set aside some concerns I had that made me consider other amps.
You mentioned BHK vs McIntosh in my other thread, I hear you.
It was mainly the potential noise that got me thinking, the BHK pre isn’t totally silent.
That said, I went back to the stock tubes and even at the higher voltage setting was much quieter that the other ECC-82 valves are the higher setting I had in.
Yeah, always prefer to hear kit in my own system and room, but took a punt on my DS Dac and BHK Pre, and I’ve never heard better.
No reason I can’t trust the online opinions zillion happy users of the BHK combo on this one.
@ Mark tuck field
Those Tannoys are wonderful speakers, and says a lot about the quality of the PS Audio kit given your happy feeding the Tannoy’s with them.
Your 101dB beats my 94dB!
Last of my concerns now addressed, just needed some direct experience with high efficiency speakers and the BHK 250.
Thanks again guys, think the Stars are aligning towards the 250, probably a no brainier to be fair given the rest of my kit.
I am using BHK250 with Klipsch Cornwall III, there is audible background noise, but I think this is to be expected. The BHK Pre is actually noisier than the 250. If noise bother you, don’t go with the BHK combo
I agree with your comment about the amp vs the preamp and noise. With the preamp muted the amp is just about dead quiet and this would be putting my ear in front of the tweeter. The preamp hiss level is affected by your choice of tubes.
Klipsch are known to over rate their sensitivity, so I wouldn’t compare based on published specs. I see that you are convincing yourself to go with the BHK 250, it’s a wonderfully sounding amp, just don’t set expectations that it’s going to be quite, especially with the BHK Pre, and especially if you use single ended cables. Balanced is a must.
Are we back at the Impulse H2’s? Which, when released in the mid-1980’s 250w amplifiers were unheard of? 100w would have been extremely rare, and bear in mind these are English speakers and the UK market got big power amplifiers much later than the USA market. They were reviewed with 15w and 25w amplifiers. As previously advised, if you really want a state of the art hybrid valve/solid state amplifier you can get the Trilogy 993, made and serviceable in England, ideal power output of 125w/8 ohms, and still lots of money left over from a BHK250. Plus if you didn’t like the BHK you wouldn’t be able to give it away. I’ve managed to sell PSA regenerator and DAC, but you just don’t see BHK’s in the UK. HiFi Corner or Loud & Clear will loan you any number of excellent amplifiers, including the Trilogy. I asked Kevin for a loan DAC and he told me to speak to a dealer. I did get one from Analogue Seduction. The nearest PSA Audio dealers to you are Fanthorpes and Dave Brook, a 500+ mile round trip for a 50kg amplifier. That’s a lot of shipping and insurance, even if they have a demo unit and are willing to send it (Dave’s a nice guy but not that nice). I don’t see why there should be a synergy issue. I heard the Trilogy 995R amplifiers with a Soulution 725R pre-amp and it was stunning. Plus, there is a Macintosh dealer in Edinburgh that offers 14-day home demo’s and they are very popular in the UK.
I hear you on the UK-centric aspect of this, and your not wrong in what you say.
I know David Brook, was a business partner of his so quite familiar with him and how he works.
I’ve never heard of the amp or the manufacturer you suggested, not to say it isn’t very good.
If I can arrange a home demo of it that would be helpful.
I know the guys at Loud and Clear, long term customer of theirs and before that Stereo Stereo.
This being a PS Audio forum, and owning PS Audio gear, my questions here are steered towards their equipment.
I’ve asked different questions elsewhere in specific forums about this, to help get a bigger picture.
It’s what I do, it works for me.
Anyway, thanks everyone for the advice, appreciate the help.
Dave is a good guy, I’ve bought from him and he loaned me a Longdog DAC for trial. I bought my PS Audio from Analogue Seduction, my valve amps came from Art Audio (who tried to sell PSA)and of course regenerators are in Dave’s main power business. That said, I bought an Isotek from him years ago. I know of the Impulse as I have discussed them with Jimmy Hughes, who did most of the reviews. I was on the phone with Jimmy for a couple of hours last Friday. I just searched BHK on PFM and HiFiWW and there was not a single reference. As a former PSA owner, it does not surprise me which products seem to sell over here and which ones don’t. You may have gathered that in the USA the BHK amplifiers are a completely different proposition because they are basically sold on a free trial, they used to be heavily discounted by retailers, there is a good resale market and failing that a trade-in programme. If I lived in the USA and had a component system I’d almost certainly have BHK amplifiers. If you’ve been in the business, you will appreciate that there seems to be a lot of localisation for big heavy items with servicing requirements.
The other problem is that PSA owners can’t recommend a 100w amp as PSA doesn’t make one. If they did make a mini-BHK, I reckon it would be very popular in Europe.
Nic Poulson founded both Isotek and Trilogy in the 1980s. He left Isotek (owning much of the IP) and others made it big. He has steadily developed great products with Trilogy, keeping a low profile and not wanting to go big. Some years ago Colin Wonfor*, who has known him for ever (I think Colin said Nic worked for him at one time) told me that he thought Nic was the best young engineer he’d ever come across, which is some recommendation.
Anyway, good luck with the hunt, and it will be interesting to hear what the Glasgow dealers recommend. If you can get Dave to drive the BHK up to Glasgow, even better, although he’s probably already packing up for Bristol later this week. I would love to get there for the demo of the new Harbeth P3ESR XD, I’ve just got a very busy weekend. Dealers are already listing them and no one knows what they look like.
*My son has a 1980s IncaTech Claymore that Colin serviced and upgraded 4 years ago and it’s a lovely sounding thing.
Yesterday evening I received the attached email from Kevin Akam.
Paul or someone at PS Audio must have contacted KA re: my comments about lack of PS Audio support in Scotland.
If you would like to contact Kevin Akam and explain your dilemma regarding said BHK250 he will arrange a demo unit that you can listen to…
Thanks so much for your email to Paul.
As you rightly point out i did say i would be speaking to dealers in Scotland.
Following that statement up i flew up and spent time with the guys at Hifi Corner in their new outlet. In the meeting they committed to take PS Audio and other brands on then when it came to it they only wanted to borrow kit from me because they had invested in other brands.
What can i say?
Please let me know what you would like to try and i’ll sort it out for you?
HiFi Corner’s new megastore was nationally publicised and they even have people flying in from Europe. I reckon every distributor was knocking on their door.
If you look at their product list it is almost exclusively from the UK and northern Europe (Holland, Denmark and Germany, plus valves from Austria) and is a very large offering. They have some cheaper stuff from the USA (Emotiva) and a brand called Aesthetix from California, which is similar to BHK in size, power, price and being a hybrid. https://www.hificorner.co.uk/shop/amplifiers/power-amplifiers.html
They carry a huge number of brands, lots of high-end, but virtually no electronics from the USA. They do carry a few popular USA speaker brands.
They don’t even stock Bryston, even though they stock the full range of PMC (who are Bryston’s distributor and service agent).
I can therefore quite easily understand why they would not want to spend any money stocking PSA.
It really is down to the business risks of being able to provide service and support.
Under UK law the distributor is responsible during the warranty period and the customer thereafter, and for PSA would involve the huge cost of shipping a massive item to Colorado.
Contrast McIntosh, your other choice, whose amplifiers are popular in the UK, they have a service centre about a 90 minute drive from your home.
Given the number of alternative products made in the UK or Europe, it makes no sense. Plus many dealers like to be able to offer part-exchange, like the PSA dealers Fanthorpes, but I would be surprised if they would take back a BHK.
The DACs are potentially serviceable without having to send back, and they tend to be more reliable. Indeed, there was a PWD Mk2 to DSD DAC conversion kit, which was basically a complete owner rebuild. My dealer offered to do it for me, but I bought a replacement DAC instead.
Hi Gaz, I’m Kevin, UK Distributor for PS Audio. Thanks for your interest in the BHK 250. I had hoped to land a dealer in Scotland however the arrangement they required didn’t work with my business model. I have a dealer who has a BHK250 that you can use to try in your system. If you would like to proceed with a demonstration please contact me via email using firstname.lastname@example.org