DSD DAC and BHK Pre volume at 0?

I’m curious. Just happened an odd thing and I’m asking if it is normal.

When I switched on my BHK Pre from stand by it went, as usual, at volume level 0 (not 0mute, just 0).
Suddenly I heard music coming from speakers. I had accidentally pressed “play” on my iPad and launched the reproduction of a song. It means that if the DSD DAC has a level over 40-50 to 100 you can hear music from speakers even if the BHK Pre is set at 0.
I thought it was impossible, if the Pre is set at 0, hearing music at all. Certainly not so loud as I’m experiencing.

How can it be possible?

I could not duplicate your problem. Even when DS was set at 100 and BHK pre is set at 0, mine is quiet. When you pre was set at vol. 0, did you hear music continuously? or just happened at the beginning? This should not have happened.


Just happened at the beginning when the Pre automatically sets at 0. Once switched on and started playing music I just can go down to 1 or 0mute, not 0. So at 1 I can hear low sound, at 0mute is dead quite. Just 0 is possible only when I switch the Pre on.

Anyway it seems that 0 and 1 are equivalent on BHK Pre, because I can hear the sound coming from the speakers until I set the DS DAC volume lower than 40-45.

Do your Pre “automatically” set to 0 when witched on from standby? mine does not do that. When it was turned on it showed the previous volume when it was turned off.

Yes it goes automatically to 0 when I switch it on after stand by. And I always set it at 0mute before I switch it off. Never tried to switch it off at different level.

If you have the chance I would appreciate a test as we have so similar systems:

  1. Keep the BHK Pre volume set at 1
  2. Play music from the DS DAC (oh sorry, the MK II in your case)
  3. From 100 go down with the DS DAC volume

At what level you cannot hear music anymore?

Thank you in advance.

When setting Pre at 1, I had to get awfully close to the tweeter and mid-range to hear anything above 22 on MK2. When setting Pre at 0, there is silence when MK2 setting hits 100. This is like 6" away from one speaker.

If I understand well you can set the BHK Pre at 3 different levels (via knob or remote):

  • 0mute (dead quite of course)
  • 0
  • 1

In my case I have only 2 options:

  • 0mute
  • 1

Okay, we are talking about the same thing. When I turned the Pre volume to zero, it showed 0m on the screen. This is what you mean by 0mute, I think. When I push the Mute button, the volume does not change to 0 just to be clear.

When at 0m, there is no sound. There is no sound when I use mute button of course. Now, I thought your original post means that when you turn off the system you will lower the volume to 0mute first, and when you turn it on you hear music even when it was at 0mute. Is that your case? If it does, then there is something not right because I hear nothing.

Sorry, yes 0m is for 0mute, that’s the same.

When I switch the Pre on from stand by mode it goes to 0 (not 0m) and it acts as if it was at 1, you can hear sound from the speakers. It wakes up at 0 because, I suppose, I always set it at the lower lever possible before switching it off the day before.
So it seems 0 (not 0m) appears only in that occasion. And I can hear music at 0 (not 0m). This is the reason why I started this thread.
Thank you for your patience.

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I have never tried it in the past and I just did.

yes, you are right. I got the same result. A zero shows up and there is sound from speakers. Darn, that is normal since we have the same result, I guess. It is very interesting!

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0 is not mute. Its just mean -##dB, don’t remember spec, and if your speakers are efficient enough and your amp have enough gain, you’ll hear sound


That is a great explanation, thanks!

Something is strange there. When the volume on the preamp is set to 0 it mutes and is quiet even at 100 on the DAC.

Hi Sixpack1 and thank you.

It seems that there are two different zeros on the BHK Pre.

  • One kind of 0 labeled “m” on the the display, that is for “mute” function. Here all is dead quiet. When you are playing music and you go down selecting the knob or the remote you can have only this kind of “0m”. A click forth there is “1” - a click back there is “0m”. This is the “0” totally mute you are referring to. You can also press the “mute” button on the remote similarly.

  • There is also another kind of “0” (without the little “m” on the display). It can be set only automatically when you switch the Pre on if previously switched off at the lower volume possible (the “0m” mute function above described). At the end of your listening session select the “0m” volume level and switch the Pre OFF, it goes to stand by mode (blue button on the front panel dark). You can press the front panel button or the “off” button on the remote. After that, switch back ON the Pre (it takes 30 seconds of countdown on the display) until the blue button on the front panel is solid blue lighted. In that case you will find “0” level on the display without the little “m”. It’s not activated the mute function now. In fact you can hear sound coming from the speakers depending on the volume level set on the DS DAC, approximately above 40-45 until 100 levels (from your listening position).

Dchang05 and I are experiencing the same result.

I set up the conditions you described and yes when it comes on after being shut down in mute you will get sound. This is not any issue of consequence. It seems that when the preamp comes up it does not automatically operate the mute relays. Under normal use no one would ever encounter this as there is no reason to set the volume to 0 before shutting it down. Normally the preamp will come back on at the level you last listened at. The reason for this is the volume control design on BHK preamp is unique in that it is not a variable potentiometer but a circuit that controls the gain of the tubes. It never is set to a gain of 0 so without the mute relays in play that is the small amount of sound that passes through the preamp.


Thank you.

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One more thing to ask to all M1200s BHK Pre owners… like @dchang05.

Do you hear a little pop from speakers when you switch M1200s on or off?

My process is always in the following order
SWITCH ON from stand by mode (pressing the blue button on the front)
sources > BHK Pre at 0 volume level > M1200s
SWITCH OFF into stand by mode (pressing the blue button on the front)
Turn down the knob volume on BHK Pre to level 0mute > M1200s > BHK Pre > sources

2 REL subs are connected to the M1200s high level and all the units fed into a P20, that is always on.

I hear a little pop from speakers (not loud) when M1200s shut down after pressing the blue light button and even more subtle pop when they wake up after flashing blue light a few seconds. In both case the BHK Pre is set to 0.
Since I bought them 2 years ago, in the same way, just varying a little bit when I swap tubes in BHK Pre.
Just curious if it’s only me or not, I can live with it as I’ve done until now.

I have never heard any popping sound when turning on and off from my system. Even though our systems are similar, our methods of switching on/off are different:

  • I kept the volume level at the same as listening level when I turn off the system
  • I use trigger wires between BHK pre and M1200 so the logo light will stop blinking on M1200 first, and the pre turns on a few seconds later.
  • I do not use separate subwoofers because my speakers have them built in, and I use two pairs of speaker cables so both outputs on M1200 are used.
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If I understand well in your process by trigger wires, you turn the amps on (wake up) before the BHK Pre, when the system is switched on. Mmm curious!
And what about switching off? Do you turn consequently the amps off before or after the BHK pre?
Just to try the same order.