BHK Pre Amp Power Consumption

After using a DMP SACD transport and DSD DAC in my system for a few months and being utterly beguiled by their sound, I’m contemplating swapping my Music First Audio Baby Reference V2 passive magnetic pre amp for a BHK pre amp.

Both pre amps are similarly priced and very high end but I suspect sound very different. Can someone here who has heard both in the flesh share their impressions of the differences in sound between the amps?

I’m also eager to learn how much power, if any, the BHK pre amp consumes in standby mode? The DMP transport and DSD DAC each draw power 24/7 (which I already feel guilty about) and I’m conscious of not wanting to waste any more energy given the seemingly precarious state of the climate. Thanks.

I measure 24W in standby. It’s worth keeping those circuits warm in my opinion but then I generate all my own power so…it’s an easy equation.

Sound making devices aren’t so great for the environment (consumption wise) but I’d argue the benefit to the soul makes the trade off worthwhile. :wink:


Amen, brother.


Thanks for the info. 24 watts ain’t too bad.

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I confirm brett66’s 24 W. Nice to have a Furman power stabilizer with an ammeter display. I of course wipe away any environmental warm and fuzzy I might gain from the low current draw of my BHK Pre by leaving my Rega Aura phono pre on 24/7. Hey, at least I admit my hypocrisy in the pursuit of the best SQ at all times I can get out of my rig. I’d leave my Pass X250.5 on 24/7 too, but that puppy gets surprisingly hot during the summer.

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During summer months, I got into the habit of turning the rig off before I go to bed at night, and back on when I return home from work next day. I am not paranoid, but makes feel better.

I you’d be quite happy upgrading to the BHK pre! 24w in standby sounds about right. I believe we spec it at 30w. Still a pretty low figure.

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Yes, 24 watts is low. I’ve now ordered a BHK pre which is arriving on Friday. I’ve not had an active pre amp in my system for many years, only passive designs, so I am fearful the increased noise will prove unwelcome but figure the increased warmth and musicality will provide ample compensation.

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Congrats, you won’t be disappointed. Let us know what you think when you get that puppy connected!

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I have had mine about 3 weeks and I love it. Noise is not an issue.



I’ve had the BHK pre in my system for a few hours now and it sounds lovely. It’s an ex demo unit so fully run in and sounding as it ought. It is noisier than the MFA Baby Ref V2 pre amp it replaced and does not provide the same level of clarity and subsequent low level detail but that’s not a surprise or a criticism of the BHK pre amp because active pre amps are inherently noisy and passive pre amps are inherently quiet by design and there’s no getting around that. Thankfully the BHK’s noise level is low (possibly the lowest I’ve heard in an active) and sounds warm and fuzzy and musical.

It will be interesting to leave the BHK installed for a week or two, fully climatise to it’s sound, then reinstall the MFA passive and see how I feel.


Great test. I always like to let something settle in for a week or two and then go back to the old piece I upgraded from. It can really show you whether or not the upgrade was worth it.

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I wouldn’t describe my BHK Pre as lacking clarity and detail. Sometimes I’m spooked on a live recording when a weird background noise is revealed and I think it’s in my audio room. I would try different tubes and a new fuse. I use the SR Orange for a fuse and Telefunken 6922’s (60’s production).

I think you might have misinterpreted my comments. I feel the BHK pre has clarity and detail aplenty - indeed the levels are incredible for an active design, it merely has less clarity and detail than the MFA Baby Ref V2. But, again, that’s not a criticism of the BHK pre. The Baby Ref V2 is a high end passive design while the BHK is a high end active design. They both sound incredible but each have their strengths and weaknesses. The BHK is superior to the MFA Baby Ref V2 in other departments - bass response for instance.

I’ve noticed my BHK pre produces a lot of white noise hiss, particularly through the right channel. I know all tubes produce some hiss but I can hear this hiss sat in my listening position 10 feet away from the speakers. I do play music fairly loud but, nonetheless, this level of hiss seems abnormal.

I’m using very quiet and expensive XLR cables, an IsoTek EVO 3 Genesis mains generator and IsoTek EVO3 Titan mains conditioner which up until now have kept my system completely free of unwanted noise and so I’m not really sure what more I can do. My power amp (a Sugden Sapphire FBA-800) is a pure class A floating bridge design, do tube pre amps not match well with class A power amps? If I cannot temper the hiss then the BHK is going back. :frowning:

It might be time to change the tubes, especially if it’s more noticeable in one channel.

Try swapping the tubes left to right, right to left. If the hiss goes to the other channel, you’ll know it’s time to get some new tubes in there.

Good thinking. I’ll try that.