BHK Pre volume click and sound change

I am hearing click and then a sound clarity jump at volume level 25. Is this normal? I am most worried because the sound is muffled below 25.

Welcome to the forum!

The click is normal. The BHK Pre has an unusual volume control that does produce clicks at a few spots on the dial. The change in clarity is not normal and the sound should not be muffled at any volume, although louder can appear to sound clearer at times in general (not related to specific equipment). I don’t know what to suggest other than contacting PSA support to see what they say.

It shouldn’t sound different at 24 and 25. Something’s not right if it sounds muffled.

rampsound said

I am hearing click and then a sound clarity jump at volume level 25. Is this normal? I am most worried because the sound is muffled below 25.

Hi Rampsound,

There is an audible click at 25 on the volume dial but Paul is correct, the Preamp should not sound any different at 24 than 25.

Please reach out to us at and get me your serial number.

We’ll get you taken care of.


  • Jeremy

I just received my brand new BHK Pre, setup up and turned it on. The volume control makes a very distinct click at every turn (dial or via the remote). Earlier posts on this thread reported only clicks at very specific points (e.g. 24-25). I’m hearing very audible clicks every step of the volume (up and down). Otherwise the PreAmp sounds beautiful. It’s only been playing an hour and it definitely makes a major upgrade in sound quality over just my PS DS Junior. I had doubts when Paul said it would be better, after an hour I’m a believer.

Will the clicks go away after a little burn in or are they permanent if you have them?

Perfectly normal… With time I barely notice them now… Less noticeable with balanced interconnects… Louder click at 25 and at 52… The BHK preamp is an incredibly musical instrument…enjoy !


All interconnects are balanced. Aside from the clicks while moving the volume up/down, the Pre makes a very loud click after it reaches its 30 second warm-up. Nothing loud enough to worry about it hurting my speakers or anything but still a bit surprisingly loud. Previously I had an Audio Research LS-2 which made a very small ‘pop’ sound when it reached its warm up end, but nothing like the BHK Pre’s POP.

The saving grace is that the BHK Pre does sound amazing (and it has only been playing for 5 hours now). I’m very surprised how much better things sound just by adding this to the music chain. It’s enough to make me stomach the annoying volume clicks and startup pop.

Rayk: sounds like you are liking the preamp! That click at 30 seconds from turn on is the muting relay switching the sound on. Best practice is to have your amp(s) off until the preamp is all set, otherwise you might get an unwelcomed “thump” or other nasty that could hurt your speakers.

Same concern goes for shutting down (probably even more so!): reverse the order by powering down amp(s) first, then preamp.

Are you turning it down to zero so the mute symbol shows up beside it before turn on? Also are you leaving your amp powered on? Mine doesn’t pop at all on turn on, but I do usually let the preamp finish it’s cycle before hitting the front switch on the BHK amp. It get little to no clicks on the volume control when running balanced but do when running into a SE amp either using SE cables or XLR cables with a SE adaptor. I found no work around of any type with SE amps. Only way to avoid the clicks is to raise and lower volume with the mute function engaged. You will learn your normal levels with each source in a few days.

I, too, lower the volume to zero then switch off the front button… Same as dawkinsj, I don’t hear any noise when I power up the preamp… I can hear clicks running single ended interconnects but the clicks are barely noticeable with balanced interconnects… When a product is new experience everything different to the product it replaces sticks out… The BHK preamp’s very slight clicking didn’t bother me because years ago I used a Linn Kairn preamplifier and by design its volume clicked too - but much louder through the speakers than the BHK Pre…

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I’ve located my Amplifier in the basement directly below the listening room. Drilled a hole in the floor and pass my cables through it to the Amp. Saves me precious floor space in the listening/family room and keeps the spouse happy - the latter being far more important to my home harmony. So switching the Amp on/off to avoid the PreAmp ‘pop’ won’t work for me, unless I fork up some $$$$ for a PS BHK Amp with the Trigger pulse. But read about the Happy Spouse 2 sentences earlier. A new Amp will have to wait until the wifey comes to grips with the audio $$$ spent recently.

I’ll try making sure the PreAmp is turned down to Zero before turning off. And will wait until it does its 30 second warm up before touching the volume. I have noticed though that turning it zero does cause the same Pop and does turning off of zero. Not surprised based upon the comments regarding the engaging/disengaging of the Mute function.

A possible cheap solution, relatively cheap compared to buying a BHK Amp with the Trigger capability, is get an electrician to run me a switch to the listening room from the basement where the Amp is plugged in. That probably would only cost $200 as compared to $7K. I’ll wait though and see how things burn in and if my Pops quiet a bit.

Do what I do… Lock the wife in the basement when listening to music then bring her back up when you need fed, etc, etc… 4_gif “I’d better make sure she doesn’t read this”2guns_gif

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Yes, you have to be careful (obviously) as not all tubes are matched well enough to avoid the clicks.

Maybe not so obvious to some, like myself it seems… Matching pairs from now on.

Matching tubes, can sometimes be the culprit. That said, there are other causes as well. I’ve had both experiences.

Hi Ray!
Do you still have the pop after 30 sec warmup, or is the problem resolved?

After 450 tube hours on my BHK pre I experienced the same in left channel. After a short while the left tube gave up, and started rushing. After exchanging to a new tube set, the pop is still there in the left channel, but only every two of four times I use it?



I’ve had the Pop since day 1, but only occurs after the 45 second warm up when the unit turns on. And also occurs when I turn the volume all the way down to zero and for that matter off of zero again. Otherwise the unit is fine. I’ve accepted the startup and shutdown pop as BAU.

I don’t think your Popping problem is the same as mine. Yours provided evidence sounds like a tube issue. I should note that I get the pop in both channels rather evenly. Do you have another set of tubes to try?


The popping sound after 45sec or when volume set to zero disappeared again. After tube replacement it popped (only in left ch) half of the times I turned it on, and then suddenly it was gone every time.
I just started to get a pulsing noise in right channel though, and removed the two tubes for cleaning the pins. After cleaning the noise was gone in right channel, but now a have it in left channel + the popping sound again…??
I had earlier a tube preamp from AR, and it required new tubes (6922) every other year, but none of these issues…


Even though I saw this thread, I went ahead and purchased a BHK preamp recently. Sure enough, upon installing the unit in my system, I get a nasty hiss through my speakers every time I move the volume up or down a notch (plus the clicks at 25, 50, etc.). Not a ‘click’ as is being used often to describe this sound, but a hiss that gets louder the higher the volume. I tried different cables, different components, tried it in my second system, all to no avail. The hiss remained and bothered me immensely - what good does the most innovative volume control do, if it makes your skin crawl every time you use it? PS Audio customer service was great and they sent me a different unit, even though they said this is ‘normal’ (a hiss through your speakers caused by a $6k preamp is normal each time you use the volume knob?). Anyhow, the second unit arrived and the result was the same. I packed it up and took it to the house of an audiophile buddy. Once installed in his system, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing… the same hiss through his speakers, same in his second system. The BKH sounds really good when you leave the volume knob alone, but I just can’t accept such behavior for a preamp and sadly returned it to my dealer for a refund. He also matter of fact stated this is ‘normal’ for the BKH. That’s like saying that rattle in your brand new BMW is normal… I am a long time PS Audio customer and have truly enjoyed all the products purchased over the years, but this is just a huge disappointment. I am amazed anybody would keep this in their system. I went with a Supratek Chardonnay instead and never looked back. Dead quiet, holographic soundstage, lifetime warranty, gorgeous.

The BHK ticks at 23 and 53 is a design factor and Bascom didn’t fail here. The explanation is somewhere on another thread. My Tube amp makes soft clicks that are audible on my Utopia headphones as you scroll through the levels. I didn’t fault the BHK, it’s related to the gain of the headphone amp. On my BHK 300’s the preamp is silent except for a click at 23 and 53. The Preamp plays well and sounds great. It isn’t going anywhere soon.

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