To have everything in one place I’m copying my posts from the BHK Arrived thread (I have the BHK 250 stereo unit):
Got mine set up after work today. A couple minor glitches. First, it took me a couple minutes to realize that I needed to loosen the binding posts to insert my banana plugs and that they then lock down on the plugs when tightened. Very nice. A manual that explains these things for idiots like me would also be nice. When the unit first started, the logo on front blinked for a while and then sound came out. Again, it would be good to have a manual to tell me that’s normal. The unit then tripped off after about 30 seconds of play, with the logo light flashing rapidly. I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. I restarted and two hours later no problems.
The sound is certainly a big step up from the Classic 250, itself still a great sounding amp after 13 years or so. On paper they are very similar and have the same power ratings. But the BHK is cleaner, displays more details, effortlessly controls the speakers, and basically just sounds right. Top to bottom I just don’t hear anything to complain about and that is not damning with faint praise. Quite the contrary. This is a great amp and worth the (considerable) wait. Kudos and congrats to Bascom, Paul, Arnie and the whole team. More to come, eventually. Now I’m just going to listen.
One of the problems I have describing the character of the BHK (stereo only, dammit) is that, to my old and untrained ears, it just doesn’t have much character to speak of. It’s just that neutral. It’s not warm and (just a bit) fuzzy like my old all-tube VTL ST85. I’ve recently revived a late '60s vintage Fisher 400 all-tube (20 tubes in total) receiver that, at a claimed 30 watts, has shockingly more bass than my other amps (and undoubtedly a corresponding bump in its frequency spectrum). The BHK doesn’t sound transistory like some of my solid state amps (my Classic 250 doesn’t really either but nor would it be confused with a tube amp and it doesn’t sound the same as the BHK). The BHK is the closest thing I’ve heard in my system to the proverbial “straight wire with gain.” And isn’t that what the ideal amp is supposed to be? (And now Paul says the monos kill the stereo–I can only imagine (with great difficulty), and really don’t want to.)
I posted my initial impressions above at 47 & 50. I still feel much the same. The BHK250 is extremely detailed but not etched or harsh in any way. Soundstage (which is somewhat limited in my small room) is relatively deep and wide. Inspired by Paul’s interview of Bascom (pt. 4), I’m now listening to Crosby & Nash’s Another Stoney Evening. I wouldn’t mistake it for the sound of David and Graham being in the room but it’s impressively close. Another mutual favorite, Bear’s Choice (I’m particularly fond of the acoustic cuts), has never sounded so crisp and lifelike. Vocals sound wonderful.
As noted above, the unit went into protection 20-30 seconds after I first took it off standby. No idea why. I turned it off and back on (just standby–I haven’t used the rear on/off since I first turned it on) and it has been fine ever since.
Now for some additional thoughts. My system is in my signature (not yet updated for the BHK). The preamp is a balanced all-tube unit using 6H30 tubes. Power cables are PSA AC12s. Signal cables are a mish-mash of PS Audio, Kimber and XLO. Balanced from DS to Preamp to amp. Source is mostly the Direct Stream with Bridge 2 beta and (occasionally) Auralic Aries. I haven’t played any vinyl yet.
I didn’t have any problems with set-up other than throwing my back out a bit and the one time it tripped off. It sounded great out of the box. I haven’t noticed major changes as it has broken in (it probably has about 30 hours on it; it is used for audio and video and is on most of the time I am at home and not asleep). I do think it has relaxed a bit and the soundstage has opened up a bit but the basic character has been there from the beginning.
I very much enjoyed my system before but this has really brought it to a new level. I can see much further into the music and the performances, whether recorded live or in a studio. Soundstage is significantly improved relative to my Classic 250 but I keep coming back to the level of detail that is revealed. With some amps “more detailed” can mean etched and a bit harsh. (I can remember listening to one famous make amp years ago at two different dealers that sounded great, except it made my skin crawl for reasons I couldn’t really articulate.) Not so with the BHK. It doesn’t really “sound” like a tube amp or a transistor amp. It just does what it is supposed to do and just sounds right. I haven’t heard anything that sounds better to my ears, even the megabucks stuff at dealers and high-end shows (although it’s hard to compare given the other differences in the systems). I enjoy listening to my old VTL tube amp in my second system but my Classic 250 blew it away when I got it. The BHK has done the same to the Classic 250. This amp is just a sh*t load of fun to listen to. Anyone who can afford one should seriously consider getting it. Anyone who can afford even a much more expensive amp (regardless of price) should get one (or the mono blocks when they come out) and spend the money he or she saves on more music. Or a new car. I am admittedly biased but that’s based on many years happy experience with PSA products.
I’m still waiting for the demo disc that Paul referred to but the BHK has made everything I’ve sent its way sing like it’s never sung before. Simple or complex, acoustic or electric, and whatever the style, the BHK makes music like no amp I’ve owned.