DAC to BHK250 directly or going through BHK Preamp

I only have BHK250 and Topping D90SE DAC. D90SE to BHK250 sounds great but just wondering if anyone has tried adding BHK Preamp in between and noticed significant (or noticeable) sound improvement?


Welcome @vipros !

We have had a great deal of discussion on this topic. Most find their system sounds better with a quality preamp in the chain, especially one with tubes. Others, of course, feel differently.

I expect others will chime in. In the mean time you may want to dig some digging/searching on the site for past discussins.

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Going back to the previous generation of PS Audio DAC, the PerfectWave DAC MkII (PWD), the original design intent was to go directly from DAC to amplifier. Paul was the biggest cheerleader for this approach, which from a theoretical standpoint made a ton of sense. If you took an entire component (preamp), and 2 sets of cables out of the signal path, you should get less distortion & losses, which should yield better sound.

I tried it with my own PWD, and from the very beginning, I just didn’t like it as well… I put my preamp (at the time, PS Audio GCP-200 w/GCPS) right back in, and it was no contest. When the DirectStream DAC came out, I tried it again, and it was better straight into the amp than the PWD, but still not as good as with a preamp in the chain.

I experimented for a little while with an older Krell KCT preamp, and in that case, I liked it better without the preamp. What that really boiled down to was that I didn’t care for the sound of the KCT compared to my old GCP-200, so I ended up getting rid of the Krell. After moving up the foodchain to the BHK preamp, I once again briefly listened without the preamp in, and music just lacked the fluidity and texture that it has with the BHK in between.

All that said…I’m sure when the DSD MkII comes out early next year, I’ll probably try the experiment once again…but I don’t anticipate the outcome will be any different.

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I begin to understand why so many still struggle with the preamp use…the crowd was first pulled to the one side, then to the other, depending on what singular experience Paul made at the time :wink:

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Yep… :grin:

In fact, here’s a direct excerpt out of the manual for the PerfectWave DAC MkII:

"Our recommendation is to use the PWD directly into your power amplifier and bypass the
preamplifier. “There’s no preamplifier like no preamplifier”. Certainly this is your choice but we
believe the fewer pieces of equipment in the chain the better performance of the system."