Bhk pre or Aries G2.1

What would give m e more bang for the buck? I currently have bhk monos going directly into my directstream. Mostly use roon, via Mac mini and external hard drive via a curious cable USB. So, what would you suggest first as an upgrade path, bhk pre or Aries g2.1?

BHK preamp


Where do you want to go with this upgrade? If you want to support more sources than just the DS, your choice is pretty much made for you. Yes? I have three sources. A pre isn’t really an option for me given that circumstance. I own a BHK Pre to serve that need. And it so happens of the many choices I have in preamps, dollar for dollar the BHK Pre does it all, including balanced inputs for all 5 input sources, not just one or two. After that the sky’s the limit for your future upgrade path.

A pre amp, can be a BHK, because you want volume control in the analog domain to stay bit perfect.
Then the Aries, but I would look at the Lumin U1 also… And drop the USB and go use SPDIF XLR.

I don’t forsee adding other sources. Will stick with Roon, my mini with 4tb external drive and audirvana. Just thought getting the mini out of the listening room might benefit more than having the preamp.

Ted has stated many times they way the volume control is done in the Directstream DAC is lossless.

You might consider the Bryston BDP-3 over the Aries G2.1 streamer if you have a large collection of music. Bryston MPD is IMO, superior sonically to Roon. The Bryston BDP-3 is also Roon Ready, and comes with a five year factory warranty. Bryston stuff is built like a tank and made in Canada. The Auralic Lightning DS software would probably be better though.

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Bryston BDP-3 owner here. Echo netspecht-2’s comment. Bryston continues to upgrade the MPD. I own it as the companion piece to my BDA-3 DAC, but wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it stand alone as a streamer for the DS. I love the USB support the BDP-3 provides in particular. Best in the business IMHO.

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And Bryston is active on Audiocircle and very responsive.

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BHK Pre will make your system sound a little more “analog” without losing any resolution in my opinion. BHK pre adds a musical sweetness to the system.

I read it here on the forums many times before taking the plunge and had the opportunity to return the unit if I didn’t notice any improvements, but have been entirely satisfied with the addition of the BHK Pre. I would also recommend inserting the Matrix SPDIF between your Mac and DSD via i2s if you can. I definitely saw improvements there as well.

The Aries would be a good upgrade, but hands down BHK pre. I can’t tell you how many people have gone from DSD direct into amps, loved it, then dropped the BHK pre in the system and asked me, “Jamesh, why the heck didn’t I make this upgrade earlier?”

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Then it is not in the digital domain


Volume control in the DSD is fully digital, bit perfect, and lossless.

Edit, this thread should be of help:

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Easy, BHK pre. I was in your shoes a while back thinking that the DSS direct to the amps sounded amazing. Adding the BHK pre wasn’t a small step forward, it was revolutionary!!!

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I will not go into details Elk, but I respectfully and most certainly disagree with that assumption. If something changes the contents of a bitstream it is by definition not bit perfect. Unless I have the wrong definition of “bit perfect”. I mean, if bit perfect means that, although altered, the bits are still perfectly in order and in the right order (…!) than I assume you are right…

If the thread I provided to you does not provide you with sufficient information as to how the DSD’s volume control is lossless, please post a specific question for Ted, perhaps in that thread. He is remarkably responsive.

Ted is the designer and knows more about how the digital volume control works in the DAC he designed. Elk shared the appropriate information with you. If you can’t believe it than so be it. Changing the analog volume level using ted’s method does not alter the originally encoded bits.

It is in the digital domain and YES it is still BIT perfect.

Yup, got ya…