BHK 300 , Stellar M700, or Benchmark AHB2 with DynAudio Contour 60's + Power Consumption

Hey Guys

New member here to the forum. I have been doing a ton of reading online about amps, preamps, and dacs . I just purchased a new pair of Dynaudio speakers and i am currently using a Denon AVR with preouts connected to a QSC GX5 power amp. These speakers are awesome and my next move is figuring out where to go next. Do i get a pre, a DAC, or power amps? I am thinking of upgrading the amps first and after doing some research i think i have it narrowed to either the Benchmark AHB2 (possibly 2 for mono), the PS audio BHK 300 and the PS M700 mono’s. Has anyone heard any of these amps with my speakers and if so i would love to hear your thoughts. I know these amps are all at different price points but i want to keep them a very long time. Another consideration is those that have the BHK 300’s how much has your electric bill gone up per month with these amps as i know the class D 700’s and the AHB2 Amps will be much more energy friendly or at least should be so i would love to know how much on average a month it costs to run these. I am pretty new to the hifi game so i am looking for all the recommendations and help i can get.

Thanks!
Frank

I am sure you will get a lot of response but if it was for the long haul I would probably buy the BHK 300’s if they are in your price range. They could very well be the last amps you ever buy.
Power prices vary quite a bit around the USA but here in SW Michigan a 1000 watt continuous draw costs about $1.00 per day. You should be able to get the kilowatt hour rate from your provider and figure the costs for each component from there based on published wattage draw numbers.

This is a PS Audio forum, as objective as people may be, PS Audio gear will be in the forefront. I was in your dilemma over a year ago. I went with the BHK 300’s. The upgrade path was obvious and I just dealt with the inevitable and went right to the 300’s. Your standby on 300’s is 75 watts per side so 150 Watts. This is nominal. I don’t even notice the impact on our electrical bill. We have a large house that’s stuffed with computers, electronics and other power hungry things like 6 fridges alone. Modern, well designed amps will drive most mainstream speakers very effectively. It comes down to personal preference. You can’t go wrong with any PS Audio Amps. If the electricity cost is a concern, go class D.

Depends what your upgrade philosophy is. My best man had an interesting philosophy that he used on his motorcycles that can be transferred to audio: Just buy the biggest (in our case best) machine from the get-go, that way you’re not wasting money on intermediate steps. For example, in the motorcycle instance (back in 1980 at least) one started with a 250cc, traded it for the 350cc, then the 450cc, 750cc, and finally the 1000cc. He said "screw it, just buy the 1000cc as that’s where I’m going to end up and I wont’ waste money on intermediate steps. " So he bought the 1000 and still has it today.

So, yeah, get the best thing you’ll ever want to get and live with it for 25 to 30 years. It’ll actually 1) save you money in the long run, and 2) you’ll be a lot happier up front with the better performance.

–SSW

That’s pretty much what I said. I bypassed the inevitable upgrade path with all the in between issues. No depreciation, then pricing, selling, shipping and then replacing. I love my 300’s and they’re mine until my ears fail.

Thanks guys!

What are you guys using for a DAC and are you using a receiver/pre?

DirecStream SR and BHK preamp. With P10, upgraded fuses in everything, and good cables

Nice speakers. Now for the big decision, Benchmark versus PS Audio (as it’d be natural to stay in the family). Both companies have solid backgrounds, deep resources, and good customer support so both are wonderful choices. PS Audio has more component/feature options, but Benchmark would be simpler, far less expensive, and the AHB2 allows you to step up one amp at a time as you like. My guess is that Benchmark would have a more stark/honest sound and PS Audio would have overall a ‘better’ sound.

Great speakers you got! Coming from the QSC either the Stellar or the BHK will be a major step. It’s a question of budget IMHO, as with these speakers and any of these amps you will need to look into the direction of your source and DAC. And then it adds up…
The DirectStream Sr. is an amazing DAC, and some prefer a preamp in between the DAC and the Amp, and then where do you play your music from…
So - to start: what sources do you (plan to) use? What budget do you want / can you spend now? What do you try to achieve (which state of music nirvana)?

Hey Philipp

I listen to music from a turntable but the majority is done through streaming. Right now i stream Tidal through a squeezebox touch. My goal is to build the the best 2 channel system within reason i started off with the Contour 60’s so right now i am pretty tapped for budget as we are looking at purchasing a new home. I am looking a little bit down the road for the amps, dacs, pre’s etc but i have started my research now. I dont want to overspend if i dont have to i will be honest one of the red flags with PS is that their components can be found significantly cheaper than list price from authorized dealers. When i look at other products from other vendors that is not the case, i guess the point im getting at is are the BHK’s really that much better than 2 Benchmark AHB2’s i havent found any forums where people have AB’ed the 2 but the Benchmarks seem to get glowing reviews across the board so while i do not really doubt the 300 monos will probably be better at what %better will they be and at what % better are they than the M700’s?

Modern day amps are usually without major flaws. It comes down to your ears and how much you want to pay. There is no % grade for audio Gear.

IMHO
{
FWIW: I auditioned the AHB2’s extensively, bi amped and what not.
TBH: In short: They suck because they are Class D…!
SO: Go for BHK since they are also on your list.
}
What you are claiming (more or less) is that the more expensive the device is at the dealer, the better it is. I know you know better than that. Besides: You can not hear the single billet aluminum CNC milled case. That’s about half the price right there…!
The fact that Bascom practically draws out the whole principle of his design, in the videos PS Audio puts on their website, must be enough te be convinced. It was for me…!

I am thinking i am asking these questions in the wrong forum as you guys are obviously bias towards PS : ) and i get it!

BTW the Benchmark is not a class D amp it is a low-power feed-forward amplifier drives a low-bias class-AB output section, the latter energized by a system of class-H power-supply rails that deliver power in response to demand and there are TONS of positive reviews on the Benchmark units by professionals and enthusiasts alike. I also disagree that because something is class D it sucks, some of the newer class D amps sound really good and i have been hearing nothing but great things about the new GaN class D amps.

And i am not claiming the more expensive something is at a dealer the better it is, i just meant that dealers sell PS gear at steep discounts across the board and you dont see that with other vendors. It seems something is just off about that and there also seems to be a lot of used PS stuff on audiogon, ebay, US audio mart etc. which causes me to ask the question if the components are that great and “end game” why are there so many for sale? Again I am not trying to step on anyone’s toes or start any arguements im looking for people who have an unbiased opinion about any of these products because at the end of the day we are all investing a great deal of money into this hobby and i would just like to get it right the first time. In hindsight i realize it probably was a really bad idea for me to create an account here and ask the questions i am asking.

I appreciate you posting, just remember you might need to take everything we say with a pinch (or more) of salt.

I think @watchdog507 hit the nail on the head. We’re past the stage of glaring problems defining amps. Amp designers are getting incredibly skilled and clever at their craft. That goes for Darren here at PS who designed the Class D M700s, Bascom who made the BHK 300s, and the folks at Benchmark, too.

I’ve not heard a bad thing about Benchmark, so I’m sure it would meet your needs well. Heck, they even have a quote straight from BHK himself on their website - “I measured less distortion and noise in the AHB2 than in any other of the many power amps I’ve measured over the years.”
-Bascom King, BHK Labs

Really the main metric is your enjoyment. If possible, listen to all three on your Contour 60s.

I personally tend to stick to the school of thought that says you should spend the lions share of your budget on speakers. With that in mind, the BHK 300s might be ‘overkill.’

Just my 2 cents. Good luck on the search and congrats on the speakers!

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Actually good class D amps do sound good but some may not sound like A or A/B amps. A friend recently flipped Mark Levinson 53’s and got a pair of Bel Canto Black Mono’s. These amps sound amazing. A very lifelike presentation. The Blacks are as good as I’ve ever heard.

I totally understand you @viper20 and you can only spend your hard earned money once.

That said, it would be rather odd to have an answer like: Go for the AHB2’s, they are much better than the 300’s.

The reason I am kinda bold in my opinion in this matter is that most amps are all the same. Topologies are being copied and stolen between vendors. I agree that the AHB’s are unique in a way, but so is a Tesla car. It gives you peak power but not for very long. I still consider a loudspeaker as a heavy motor that induces forces at speeds that are unbelievable. An amplifier must be strong and heavy, with lots of capacity and energy storage and a very low output impedance and with very short, thick cables to the speakers. All that in order to “keep th’m babies in check”. I consider amps as welding machines that make music.

First of all the 250’s and 300’s are truly differential and fully balanced from input to output. Secondly they have a “same sex” topology where there are only N channel MOSFET’s. As far as I know this topology is used only in one other brand that I know of, being Plinius but with BJT’s in stead of FET’s.

Indeed, I also noticed that there is a lot of of merchandising in used PS Audio stuff. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing…? I thought about the Audi A6. That is by far one of the best designs ever, I think we agree on at least that. Now realise how much that car is being sold and resold…

Always trying to help,
Ronald

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As an owner of a single Benchmark amp, then the monos, then the BHK 250 and now the BHK 300’s,
I can unoquivically state that each step was a sonic improvement , with the Benchmark to PSA being the best step per dollar for me. The PSA amps are just more musical. I still think the Benchmark is good value and coupled with their DAC /Pre is a solid (and very quiet) combo.

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Hello

What speakers are you driving ? Are you also using the PS DAC and pre?

Thanks!

Thanks Ronald!

All of this makes sense as i said earlier just trying to make the best decision possible and hopefully eliminate that “what if” lol!

I had a twenty five year old Audio Research tube amp I used with Thiel speakers. I loved the sound but realized I could do better re. Dynamics and base. During years of searching I never found anything that gave me the imaging and electrostatic like vocals of the Thiel Audio Research paring. Hoping to find a speaker I would like without breaking the bank I tried the Buchardt S400. These gave me a lot of what I was after but didn’t have the vocal sparkle I desire. So I brought my Stellar M700’s down from my office. These were more dynamic with exciting vocals and they preserved the soundstage. I was reflexively opposed to class d, not anymore.

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