BHK Signature preamp Review coming to TAS

edorr said Since ps audio has a reputation (and philosopy I presume) that new products move the price performance bar in the product category, I would hope it is competitive with more expensive products . . .
An excellent point. PS Audio products have traditionally possessed a higher yuck/buck ration than its competitor's offerings.
Paul McGowan said We didn't actually build to a price point - though the opposite is true - we didn't force every dollar we could on it. There's setting a budget–don't spend more than this–and then there's making a conscious decision to set a high price point–what can we do to justify a $40,000 price point?

Our directive to Bascom was simple. Design the very best preamplifier you know how and make it fit into this box. He had full carte blanche after that - and he spent far more than we would ever have imagined.


The way I see it ps audio has a competitive advantage in operations and they can bring products to market at larger scale and lower cost than other manufacturers, including true boutiques. If bascom’s preamp design chops are equivalent to say the guys at audio research, we should get better better price performance than ARC based on this competitive advantage. If bascom can “out design” them, the ps audio preamp will blow the incumbents out of the park. I believe with the power amp, he “out designed” the incumbents. Let’s hope he can pull it off with the pre.

Of course… all things audio are subjective when one gets down to it. Right now,I am using a $3,200.00 tube preamp that I would not get rid of any time soon [its that good…for me and my system]. To me, money thrown at a system does not make for a better sounding system. What the bottom line is…is… ‘system synergy’. It is trail and error of course,but when things click…you will know it right away.

+1 in spades. I’ve had gear in my system that arguably wasn’t as good in some terms as maybe other more expensive alternatives, but “clicked” just right with the rest of my gear. I suspect as with everything else I’ve heard so far from PS Audio, the preamp will be better than the industry expects. But as with everything else it’ll be what it brings to someone’s own system that counts.

tony22 said . . . the preamp will be better than the industry expects.
Why do you say this? Professional reviews of PS Audio equipment I have seen have always been extremely positive and I am unaware of any dismissive comments by a reviewer. Additionally, those I know in the industry have nothing but good to say, even those who make competing products.

What have I missed?

mark-d said I am using a $3,200.00 tube preamp that I would not get rid of . . .
Which one?

Hey Elk. This one...

"PRIMALUNA DIALOGUE PREMIUM PREAMPLIFIER" clapping_gifsmiley-music005_gif

Could not be any happier with my choice...[Well,at least in the here and nowlaugh] It replaced my Edge Signature One ac/dc preamp that was my former reference for a lot of years. The Primaluna just plain ole destroyed the Edge. Not a easy feat,for sure...but it did.

Excellent choice!

The entire Primaluna line is silly good. There is something special about tube rectification (like the separate power supply for my headphone amp), and I love that even the power supply of the Primaluna is fully dual mono.

Thanks for letting me know. I enjoy finding out what makes someone as happy as you obviously are. :slight_smile:

Are you running the stock tubes?

Elk, what I meant - if poorly expressed - was that more than likely the preamp will continue to demonstrate the same sort of stellar bang for the buck as PS Audio has frequently shown. I just didn’t want my association with cost to imply that cost may have been a key driver in the design approach (after reading Paul’s remarks).

So “the preamp will be better than the industry expects” means “the preamp will continue to demonstrate the same sort of stellar bang for the buck?”

If so, I think I understand what you mean. And this is very different from how I was interpreting the first phrase. :slight_smile:

mark-d said

Hey Elk. This one...

"PRIMALUNA DIALOGUE PREMIUM PREAMPLIFIER" clapping_gifsmiley-music005_gif

Could not be any happier with my choice…[Well,at least in the here and nowlaugh] It replaced my Edge Signature One ac/dc preamp that was my former reference for a lot of years. The Primaluna just plain ole destroyed the Edge. Not a easy feat,for sure…but it did.

My only gripe with the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Preamp is that it is only single ended. And I’ve felt that some of my gear sound best with a full balanced path. I hope to get the BHK Monos soon - and looking to pair it with a great balanced preamp.

Elk,I have not yet changed any tubes on the PL. The stock ones are not to shabby and I really feel no need to mess with them at the moment. That doesn’t mean down the road I wont… Yes,the PL Premium Preamp is silly good for the money and the parts and build construction are really second to none. How they can offer this level of construction and sound quality for the money [except of course, where it is made,saving some coin] is beyond me. If you get a chance…google some inside photos of the pre amp and you will see what I mean. Its pretty much completely hand built with superb craftsmanship…

Doggie Howser. Although the PL is not balanced, it is still a stellar performer in single ended mode. I guess they did not want to add the extra cost to implement balanced. This seems strange though, seeing it is completely dual mono down to the bone. But,if one would need balanced, then this pre would not be the one of choice.

The stock tubes are indeed quite good. But many instantly need to roll.

I have seen the workings of Primaluna products, lots of hand point-to-point wiring like my Cary and Woo amps. Wonderfully old school. Analog in the best sense.

I have several excellent preamps made by Decware, the CSP2+ (now offered as the CSP3 model). Amazing, hand-built in the USA life-time warrantied preamps with gobs of adjustable gain, output transformer-less and good headphone amps as well. But I run the DirectStream directly into my Torii Mk III Decware amp (which has adjustable gain as well). There’s a clarity and vividness that I prefer this way with my best interconnects (VooDoo Cable Stradivarius Cremona). I use the CSP2+ for my vinyl and Blu-ray/SACD/DVD-A playback. Sound is exceptional. I am not in the market for PS Audio amplification and pre-amplification but I imagine these BHK pieces are wonderful.

Paul McGowan said The Calypso has long been my favorite. What a stellar sounding preamp - best I have heard - until the BHK. As soon as I have moved from a prototype BHK preamp to a production unit, the Calypso is for sale. Anyone interested should contact me.
Hey Paul. I may be interested in the Calypso. PM me if you would please sir at your convenience.

I am interested.

Any updates on expected ship date of the preamp?

Shooting for a June beta.

I’m not sure if Paul has posted his thoughts on this but I am wondering what having the preamp in the system brings over direct connection from the DS to the BHK 300’s. I am finding that direct sounds at least as good and in some ways better than an extremely good all-tube unit that itself has always improved previous front end gear (including PWD)

As far as building to a price point, I think Paul’ choice to sell a $15k amp that only has 50 extra watts over the stereo says it all. The 300’s from another company with more ornate casework would cost probably between 25 and 40k and possibly more.

The only thing I’d like to see explored more (which does cost) is mechanical grounding, a la Goldmund and a short-lived amp build by starsound.

I am very confused on this grounding thing and would like to learn more.