DSD or BHK upgrade first?

I’m easing my way into the Perfectwave line and I’ve been scouring the web for the right deal on one or the other - for now. Currently I’m running a GCD, PST and and Auralic Streamer/Server/DAC. My first inclination was to look for a DSD, but it occurred to me that having the BHK would eliminate issues I’d have with connecting 2 DACs to a 3rd and maybe offer a sonic benefit. Would this setup cause a conflict with having different preamps going into another?

Speaking from my personal experience. I started with the SGCD and added the DSD SR. Curiosity made me connect the DSD Sr. Directly to my amps. The sound IMO was much better than going thru the SGCD. I sold the SGCD and eventually upgraded to the BHK Pre which again took it up another level! IMO your biggest upgrade would be the DSD first. There are some great deals and more to come when the MKII gets released.


“IMO your biggest upgrade would be the DSD first.”



This was my original thinking.

If you don’t mind my asking, what speakers and amplification were you using during this transition?

I was using M700’s


BHK what? Amp or preamp?

I think amps make a much bigger difference than DACs. Preamps make a bigger difference than DACs too but not as much as amps.

The speakers were Martin Logan Odyssey’s when I was running that set up.

That must have been nice. Before I’d purchased my GE Tritons, I’d auditioned a pair of ML Classics at Magnolia. They took control in the main sound room, besting others easily to my ears. It was the first time I made the distinction between speakers sounding like boxes and electrostats.

I agree with you. The amp is the foundation of the system sound imo.

Personally I’d look into a regenerator if you don’t have one. A next step that will improve every step thereafter.

I have everything (including 700s) hooked to a P10.


Good news.

I realize there are pro/anti conditioner and regenerator camps, however, early on I knew I wasn’t in a position to add numerous outlets to my listening space. Plugging my gear into power strips was not an option. I’ve been pleased with the performance thus far.

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Agreed, was just about to recommend the same thing. His P10 will serve him very well!

Interesting question and one which will continue to be debated for many years to come…

To play the devils advocate, the preamp (line & phono) is the anchor of the audio system. You may have the worlds finest power amp, but unless the preamp stage(s) are up to the task, being neutral, transparent and quiet, the system will sound bad. the converse being true as well

I find the most impactful device to shaping the overall sound of a system to be the pre-amp, choose the right one for you and build the remainder of the system to your likes and needs. SS, tube, SET, class A, A/B, D…Maggies or horns…digital or analog the right preamp will manage all of them as the system grows and changes. If you run a tube preamp you can of course tailor the sound a bit by rolling tubes, compensating pehaps for “warm/polite” amplifiers or bright speakers and cables

Disclaimer: only for debating purposes, its all important of course, power, amps, pre’s, sources, cables… I can’t resist a lively and friendly debate with the bonus being the chance to “talk audio” and learn!



I found the amp-first theory interesting, as for some it may hold absolutely true. In my case the 700s are doing a hell of a job, based on my limited experience. That’s not to say I won’t upgrade the amplification, but they are a part of my system I feel is less deficient than perhaps the DAC. I really want to hear my PST bloom, so I’m looking for the next step to make that happen. It occurred to me that it would either be the DAC or Preamp.

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With the DS MKII slated for this year, I personally wouldn’t purchase a DAC right now.

Secondly, the BHK is going to effect your entire system, not just a single source.

I vote BHK - plus you can tube roll!


My experience is an audio system is a weakest link phenomenon; no component is the most important or the foundation of a good system.

For example, if the DAC is not up to the task it matters not how good your preamp or amp are; they cannot make the source sound better than it is.

Conversely, a perfect DAC will sound deficient given mediocre amplification.

And then there is the speakers and the room and software, etc.

The most important component is the one you can replace with a better piece of kit and make the most significant improvement.


I agree. I tend to believe the prophetic and philosophical words of Donny Hathaway: “Everything is everything, y’all.”

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