BHK Phono preamplifier


I have mono buttons (well, in my case it’s toggle switches) on a Decware phono preamp and a Decware preamp. Definitely a more practical way to “go mono” than changing cartridges.


No updates still. Sorry.


Any updates on this front? Thanks.


Sadly, no. The BHK phono sits 70% finished in Darren’s office and he’s been assigned other projects. It is still an active product but we’re so swamped right now…


Thanks for the update. Looking forward to this.


This sounds great someday. Personally I’d rather see the speakers first.


Paul, how will you voice/live test the new phono pre?

I think especially bass performance needs a very good mechanically isolated player to not get false results from thickened low end due to resonances.It would also make sense to check with various cartridges.

Do you have combatants with such setups?


We will rebuilt the Clear Audio table we have on our side. On Bascom’s side he has a beautiful TT.


While a designer always needs to listen carefully to a slew of cartridges as a real-world check, I expect a phono preamp to be neutral in precisely following the RIAA equalization curve; that is, not voiced.


Generally and theoretically this makes sense, yes.
Practically it’s the old „measurement vs. listening“ discussion. Probably all phono amps should sound roughly the same then by following the RIAA curve, but they don’t, not only in fine voicing differences, but also in audible bass or treble level or control, not to speak of different outcomes depending on impedance changes.

It guess there’s a lot to try with a phono pre if one wants to be sure it works as intended in the various customer situations and I think the demands on such a unit are a bit more specific than to a unit like the Nuwave, but who knows, maybe it’s easier than I see it.


Sounds interesting!

I think the influence upon which kind of TT setup and impedance settings a phono pre is voiced, is huge.


Phono amps should be the same as far as EQ goes. If the pre cannot accurately reproduce the RIAA curve accurately and, instead, exhibits more bass, more presence, rolled-off treble, etc., something is wrong. In this sense, a phone pre should not be “voiced.”

Differences in sound quality will be in component quality and careful circuit design quality. This, of course, impacts things such as distortion, S/N, channel separation, the ability to reproduce inner detail and timbre, transparency or lack thereof, etc.

Consider, for example, the Sutherland Engineering Duo. Its frequency response with RIAA correction is nearly ruler flat, exactly as it should be.


Hm…do you think that most of all the very different sounding phono pre’s don’t get the RIAA curve right?

I would have thought all get it right, but sound very different for other reasons, just like preamps sound very different although they all have ruler flat FR‘s.

Ah, I think I got what you mean: the reproduction of the different cartridges is only fixed to a correct reproduction of the RIAA curve and doesn’t have to be voiced. So a phono pre just has to be voiced for final sound just as a normal preamp. I could imagine this to be so, yep.


Paul, I know so much is happening at PSA these days. But is there a projected time frame for the new phono preamp?


The Stellar phono stage is scheduled for the end of this year.


Any teaser pics? Price point? How many tubes? Type?


Paul, when in future considering a combination of BHK pre and phono amp, they will probably (due to your intended design change from DS to TSS) have different designs (just as the DS will have different designs than the upcoming transport etc.), correct? Some won’t mind, others do.

Even if both designs are not different worlds, they still have no common appearance (probably over a longer time span)…or are you planning a new/different BHK pre foreseeable? Or will the BHK phono have the current design?


@Paul, could you please answer this one? Would really be interesting how you plan the design switches or options…thanks!


Howdy jazznut,

When you say different designs, are you talking about the chassis design/outward aesthetics?

If so, you are right that the TSS will be in a different chassis, one that carries the DNA of our current PerfectWave chassis made more elegant and refined.

There’s rumblings within the PS skunkworks on what else could go in this new chassis - it is bigger, with a much improved touch screen interface, so it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. Lots of fun things to speculate on, nothing that is set in stone yet.

As far as I’ve heard, BHK doesn’t design with a particular chassis in mind. Picking the chassis is up to us, so it will come down to space needed and expected price point. Since we will continue using the PerfectWave chassis, it might end up in there, or it might not. Time will tell.


Thanks and yes, I meant outer chassis.

The TSS direction was clear to me but not the BHK Phono direction and that you might still use the Perfect Wave chassis in future (which would be a good thing for all DS and BHK pre users)

If you don’t know yourself yet, I can’t expect an answer…I think it’s no easy decision for PSA as most equipment out in the field will be Perfect wave chassis (which I like) for quite some time and on the other hand you’re introducing a new one with the TSS (which will somehow integrate but still be different)

I thought PSA might have a strategy already