Does the balance control on BHK Sig Preamp affect sound quality?


#1

Does the balance control on BHK sig preamp affect sound quality? For some reason, the central in-phase image on the stereophile test CD 2 came out a little shifted to the right. To correct that, I changed the balance control from 0 to +3 left. Thanks for the advice.


#2

Hi @zheng4 - I don’t have exactly the same set-up (front end, electronics) but I have the DS in to Pre in to S300’s and I do not notice a lateral shift in the image focus when I introduce the Pre-amp instead of going direct from the DS to the mono-blocks. I’m sure you have checked that you haven’t accidentally changed the L/R balance in the DS output. If DS LR is still on centre that leaves connections to be double checked.

Weird one. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this.


#3
zheng4 said

Does the balance control on BHK sig preamp affect sound quality? For some reason, the central in-phase image on the stereophile test CD 2 came out a little shifted to the right. To correct that, I changed the balance control from 0 to +3 left. Thanks for the advice.


What are you comparing to? There are so many things in a system that could cause such an effect. Could be your previous preamp was shifted to the left and, eg, speaker positions were adjusted to center it. It’s really impossible to know without measuring the preamp’s output voltages with a caibrated input signal. I measured this in a BHK Sig sample and found no measurable difference between the two channels. However: tubes.

It could be a tube-matching issue. Switch the tubes from channel to channel and see if it shifts the other way.


#4

I agree with these thoughts on fixing the problem rather than adjusting the control. That said, it is fine to tweak the balance control and it should not impact sound quality.


#5

I encountered a similar imbalance in my system a month or so back and traced it to one of two rectifier tubes (my amp uses one per channel). It was a bummer in that these were '40s RCA rectifiers that I enjoyed a long time. The good news is that I had a back up pair of 'fifties RCA rectifiers of the same tube type and popping those in place gave me very similar sound and a centered balance again.

Using the balance “control” on the DS hasn’t impacted sound quality at all in my experience.


#6

Thanks for all your suggestions. The unbalance did become obvious after I installed a new set of tubes in the BHK Pre. I will switch the tube left and right positions tonight to verify that.


#7

Also check the balance on the Jr. - it’s possible to change it without realizing, or to change it and forget that you did, because you won’t ordinarily see it on the display.


#8

I was listening to my second system yesterday and noticed a slight imbalance. I traced it to one of my homemade balanced interconnects–the cable was scrunched into the connector and one of the hot pins was shorted to ground (the ground isn’t insulated). Fixed it with a bit of electrical tape (and by unscrunching the cable).