Directstream direct to BHK 250?


#1

Hi,

I love my brand new DS! So now I am thinking on completing the PSA combo by purchasing the BHK 250 Amp.

Can I run the DS directly to BHK 250, or do I need a Preamp?

from the specs: Output impedance on DS XLR is 200 Ohms, and input impedance on BHK 250 XLR is 200,000 Ohms .

thanks!


#2

You can certainly run it direct, it will probably sound excellent.


#3

Thanks!

No impedance mismatch resulting in speakers hum, digital volume control issues / loss, etc?

Is this the official position of PS Audio, that no Preamp is required?


#4

All correct.

However, there are those of us who find an excellent preamp provides the best possible sound. It is admittedly counterintuitive. Others prefer without a preamp.


#5

I would try it with and without a separate preamp and see what sounds best to you.

Until my DSD/DMP burned in, I preferred the sound of my Cary SLP98L with all my wonderful Brimars, etc. Now, weeks later, I think the interposing Cary preamp adds a warm, liquid element to the sound, but it just takes away far too much detail and I no longer use it.

Now, the DSD connected using ZU Event balanced interconnects into my old Cary tube amp and into my ZU speakers makes me happy.

Of course the nickel jar is being filled for the BHK250.


#6
RonP said

I would try it with and without a separate preamp and see what sounds best to you.

Thanks for chiming in! The "problem" is I don't currently have a Preamp, which means that I would need to buy one to try....

#7

The DSD preamp is very nice and musical. I wouldn’t spend money on a separate preamp until I had everything else settled in my system. For instance, get your power cleaned up first. In fact–in my opinion, clean power should come first if you intend to build a high performance system.


#8
thyname said Is this the official position of PS Audio, that no Preamp is required?
Paul himself for a long time did not use a preamp with his DS DAC. Then he tried a very good one (this was before PSA made the BHK pre) and liked it better than running the DAC direct. This was discussed extensively here -- Paul admitted that he couldn't explain why adding more wires, caps, whatever to the chain would improve the sound, but it's what he heard. Many of us also prefer the DS with a preamp, but others find it works perfectly well without. So you really have to try for yourself. I suspect that the specific amp in question makes a difference, along with power cords/conditioners etc.

#9

I’m also running a DSD directly to a BHK 250 and the results are pretty good. However the signal level going into the amp isn’t as high so your system won’t sound as loud as possible.

Paul McGowan said somewhere here that the BHK preamp turns the set even better.

Just my two cents.


#10

It’s true. Adding BHK Signature between the DS and amp is better. A lot better. That said, I don’t want to downplay DS direct to the amp, a configuration I loved for many years. Just because something’s better doesn’t mean what was originally great is any less good or diminished in any way.


#11
Paul McGowan said

It’s true. Adding BHK Signature between the DS and amp is better. A lot better. That said, I don’t want to downplay DS direct to the amp, a configuration I loved for many years. Just because something’s better doesn’t mean what was originally great is any less good or diminished in any way.


Thanks for chiming in!

So here is a follow up question:

In a setup with Directream DAC and Stellar M700 Mono Block amps, would a Stellar DAC / Preamp be sufficient? Or the BHK equivalent signature DAC / Preamp is a SIGNIFICANT step forward?

Again, this is for analog preamp duties only. Already have the Directstream DAC for d/a conversion and streaming high rez audio.

Thanks!


#12

I think you will hear a consensus that the BHK is a significant step forward. At that point it depends on your budget. Not everyone is concerned about the budget factor but it is a consideration in my world at least. If you can land a BHK pre, by all means do so imho.

I have the DSD jr straight to the M700s. I love detail, but at volume it had had too much if that is possible and I heard it and it affected my enjoyment and experience. After watching Paul’s video on pre/no pre etc. I too wanted to experiment a bit. Also, like you mentioned previously I believe, a BHK 250 amp hopefully is in my future. Both BHKs asap are not.

I went shopping “budget friendly” pre-amps. I was steered away from the GCD/Stellar version (especially compared to the BHK) . Finding a high quality pre which is balanced and checks all my boxes is hard. I found two. A W4S and a Cary Audio. I got to test drive a Cary. I don’t know all the cool audio related adjectives but the Cary (mostly at volume) removed stuff I did not like but kept all the stuff I do. It just sounds better. (Sounds like RonP above knows a bit about Cary)

If you are not sure, most any reputable manufacturer (like PSA etc) will let you try out equipment at no or low cost to you. The BHK pre would be the top shelf solution..... Good luck!


#13

@roninaudio thanks!

Yes, I was really eyeing the BHK 250 amp, but after reading the Stereophile review, I pulled the trigger on the m700s. My dealer was telling me about those for a while, as well as Duncan.

Which particular Cary are you talking about? the one and only solid state they have? Or their expensive tube preamp stuff? I am familiar with cary as I have their DMS-500 streamer / DAC on another system, and have auditioned their two channel amp - the SA-200.2

As for the BHK vs. Stellar Preamp, for preamp duties (analog volume control and all), with no regard for DAC, wouldn’t they be the same since they are just passive / analog pass through?


#14

It takes a very very good preamp to better the direct output. I had decided that no preamp was best with the DS especially since I was able to use the balanced output and a transformer component to feed the full balanced voltage into my single-ended amplifier. . . and then I tried this preamp all three of my sources were improved. It was as if it wasn’t really there. . . but everything was at its best. I recommend considering it if you are thinking of a balanced preamp.

And yeah, I got the red-faced one. . . didn’t think I’d dig that but I love it.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZTPRE.html

ztprein175.jpgztpresoon175a.jpgztpresoon175c.jpgztpresoon175d.jpg


#15
thyname said

@roninaudio thanks!

Yes, I was really eyeing the BHK 250 amp, but after reading the Stereophile review, I pulled the trigger on the m700s. My dealer was telling me about those for a while, as well as Duncan.

Which particular Cary are you talking about? the one and only solid state they have? Or their expensive tube preamp stuff? I am familiar with cary as I have their DMS-500 streamer / DAC on another system, and have auditioned their two channel amp - the SA-200.2

As for the BHK vs. Stellar Preamp, for preamp duties (analog volume control and all), with no regard for DAC, wouldn’t they be the same since they are just passive / analog pass through?

  1. Can’t go wrong on the 700s. Especially considering the value point. The BHK is arguably a step up but it’s different technology entirely.

  2. SL-100.

I was hesitant to go full tube and was not even aware of the Decware above. (Which looks amazing) Not many places out there to audition anymore. I love tubes though and have owned Primaluna but it’s not balanced, dual mono, direct coupled etc. like the 100 and neither was the Cary 98. The Cary 05 is $10k. Also a great company. Billy is a class act in my experience anyway…

  1. I’ll leave that for the experts but I believe there are substantial differences. (Components, input stage etc.)

#16

oh @@Lon the red is sweet.

Speaking of Cary… I’m getting my 98p direct coupled - essentially the F1 direct coupled using a mundorf output cap / hexfreds / other cap improvements. Reasonable price and had it in for a fix anyway. I love the pre - but during its down time found out how good the DS is direct. So my question to the Cary owners - was your experience with a stock or modded unit?


#17
timm said

oh @@Lon the red is sweet.

Speaking of Cary… I’m getting my 98p direct coupled - essentially the F1 direct coupled using a mundorf output cap / hexfreds / other cap improvements. Reasonable price and had it in for a fix anyway. I love the pre - but during its down time found out how good the DS is direct. So my question to the Cary owners - was your experience with a stock or modded unit?

That red is sweet Mr. lonson..... Cary has a tinge of that too (below). My 100 is bone stock timm (lol) but you knew that. It arrives today if I can catch the dang UPS guy! Maybe we need a Cary thread.. (The remote is kinda ridiculous though). Good move on the direct coupling and service. Love to just hear an 05.... However to the point- I think pre or no pre is 100% subjective and user definable. I'm listening direct for the moment. It sounds great, but I definitely hear the difference and it comes down to preference. I wish I could pick like five pre's and try them all. (Decware, BHK, Cary 05, Calypso and Ayre) That would be fun..

204cary.jpg


#18
timm said

oh @@Lon the red is sweet.

The best thing about it is my wife LOVES its looks. A big plus!

#19
Roninaudio said
  1. SL-100.
https://www.caryaudio.com/products/sl-100/

You are saying this would work better as a preamp than the Stellar DAC from PS Audio?


#20
thyname said
Roninaudio said
  1. SL-100.

https://www.caryaudio.com/products/sl-100/

You are saying this would work better as a preamp than the Stellar DAC from PS Audio?


My thought is yes. I have had the Stellar DAC/GCD hooked to the M700s. I upgraded to a DSD jr. This was a huge upgrade in fidelity. I personally would not put the GCD between the DAC and my amps as a pre based on what I have learned… Obviously the BHK pre works awesome but that is a big step. If you want to chat , PM and I can relate in detail how I got where I am and where I’m going, but I don’t want to mislead you. There are a ton of experts that can give you great advice and all the detail behind it…

Here is who I would ask you to write or call. He knows his stuff.

Duncan Taylor
duncan@psaudio.com