I have a PS Audio BHK Signature preamplifier. Love the sound but not the noise it is making.
Have tried different 12v tubes, but the noise is always there. I even thought there was something wrong with the BHK and paid a lot for a replacement board. Sadly a waste of my money.
So last weekend I connected my Holo Audio May KTE Dac directly to my BHK 250 amplifier. Using roon’s dsp volume control.
The sound was pretty good, but the magic was gone. Soundstage is less 3D and the voices are not as believable.
Any recommendations for a balanced holographic preamplifier that can sprinkle some fairy dust on my system? Preferable not with tubes.
around 3-4000 usd. It should be a pre I can buy in Europe
Is Benchmark available in EU? I’ve heard the LA4 at shows; it seems quite nice. No phono stage, though. Is used an option?
I am trying to avoid tubes because of noise
Given you find the sound magical with the BHK. I suspect you will find replacing it difficult, especially if you want to avoid tubes.
I suggest looking for a good tube preamp which is quiet in your system.
I am sorry you have had problems with tubes and noise. I have owned many tubed pieces and have never had a problem.
I have a tube preamp with tube rectifier, it also has AC heaters and there is absolutely no noise. I don’t understand how a tube preamp with DC heaters can be noisy.
I replaced my BHK preamp with a Pass Labs XP-12 and love the sound and no tube expense and hassle. Should be able to find used in your price range.
What kind of noise are you experiencing? Do you use high efficiency speakers? My B&W 800 Matrix are 93 db per watt sensitive. I do get excessive tube rush with 6 volt tubes but not with any 12 volt tubes. Is the bias set to 4 ma for 12 volt tubes? I love my BHK preamp in my system with the mk 2 DAC and BHK 250 amp. No noise issues at all. The main board has been replaced and I no longer get the regulator noise with the Gold Lion tubes.
Consider the Coda Technologies 07x Preamplifier…It was chosen one of the “Most Wanted Components” of the decade (2010 through 2020) by Stereo Times magazine. And for good reason…its an awesome sounding and functioning preamp that is dead quiet,musical to the nines and for the money…quite the bargain!
A friend has the Coda integrated, thing is killer!
Coda makes some fine, very fine equipment at real world pricing. Solid construction and reliable IME. I still have a Coda 02b around here somewhere.
Pass Labs. Any preamp from XP-12 up. Guaranteed you will never miss tubes. Guaranteed. They are warm, refined, detailed, dynamic, holographic, convincingly realistic, fleshy, solidly built, have peerless service from the mother ship.
And Coda are excellent too. They’re ex-Pass Labs guys.
Totally agree. I have the Pass XP-30. Beautiful sound and absolutely clear
Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I will try to find a used Pass Labs X-12. It’s the only one I can afford I am also looking into the Holo Audio Serene. But I think it will sound to neutral. Why the Serene? I have the Mmay KTE Dac
Reno Hifi may have a demo available at a discount, worth a call:
or there’s this,
Yes, look at Reno HiFi. That guy used to work at Pass and has is an inside source for all Pass and First Watt stuff. I’ve bought used stuff from him. He sells used stuff that’s been refurbished to new condition plus a warranty.
(Of course, if you’re in the US.)
Sadly the PS Audio BHK has a known issue with excess noise due to shipping over extended distances. I live in Hawaii and have had 2 brand new and tested Pres sent out to me that both landed with audible noise in the left channel. We did all the standard testing and it was always the left channel. I searched the forum here and found at least 3 other members who had the exact same issue. I suggest like the others here to try the Pass Labs XP-12, it’s what I replaced mine with and believe me when I say this, you will not miss the tubes at all.