Holy mother of .... BHK Signature Preamp


Thanks and have been reading on this subject. Thanks for bringing it up for those who just got a new BHK Preamp. Some say DAC attenuator on and DAC volume set DAC to 100. Others say the DAC attenuator on and volume set to 100 sounds bad. You and Ted are right, it is system and audiophile dependent. However, I believe it is a worthwhile exercise to get the best SQ. So, thanks for bringing up the subject and options.

I just set the DAC to low (attenuator on) and volume to 100. The result is similar Preamp volume range. I will compare the two approaches and decide. Again, thanks for pointing this out. Another listening process… love this sport…:+1:


I leave the DAC on 100 no matter the source. I do not have a DMP so no advice there. Using Roon for local network playback and Roon / Tidal for Internet stream and levels are the same. Also have a Denon 103? CD/DVD player and its level also matches.


FWIW, I have defaulted to 86 on my DS Sr. (non-attenuated setting) with my Anthem AVM 50v 2 Pre/Pro. The corresponding Anthem volume of -25db seems to be the sweet spot for most tracks. This puts my SPL at about 73dB peak volume at my listening position. Its not a huge difference, but the overall “musicality” seems better than dialing the DS all the way up to 100. As others have stated, I really think you have to fiddle with a combination of DS and preamp settings to see what works for you. And, in the end, I think the preamp is what drives (no pun intended) whether the DS should just be set at maximum volume and let alone or dialed back a bit. Regards.


Thanks. These system settings need to be fleshed out when your Preamp is finally burned in ~500hrs. It’s good to understand the options. I appreciate all the feedback.

For now with two days on, DAC set to 75 (high) seems to sound the best for me. Using Roon Nucleus+, I turned all the auto leveling off.

Looks like I will rinse and repeat every week for the first 2-3 months.


Great conversation here about settings of DAC and preamp volume. I’ve just about read and watched every video on these pieces. I do remember a video that Paul had done about the DAC losing bits(20 bits reserved for volume, 30 bits for audio band, 50 bits total) when below 50 on volume scale as it is a digital volume control. So anything above 50 on the volume scale would be okay.
Now if I’m wrong and being a Newb here, please correct me.



As with anything audiophile, proof is in the listening. There are so many equipment configurations, interconnects… The best approach is to gather as many different options as possible; then, just listen as your Preamp burns in over the next few months. Of course when you get your PSA gear in its final configuration.


I agree 100%. I’ve been through so many systems and upgrades in my 35 years of this hobby, so many different amps from full tube to previous hybrids and solid state and of course mixed tube and solid state.
I’ve come to realize that there is a synergy of preamp to amps so I try to keep those in the same branding.


hi folks, not sure if this is the right place to ask this question (newbie to the PSA community)…but… I am making some changes to my all Bryston system - swapping out the DAC and preamp - and looking for some insight.

My plan is move to the Direct Stream Sr. and Aesthetix Calypso.

I had a chance to hear the Direct Stream DAC in my system over the Xmas holidays and I was pretty much floored…and decided right then and there it was a must have. I’m working my way towards it, starting with the Perfect Wave II that I recently purchased.

Around the same time, I also had a chance to hear the Aesthetix Calypso preamp in another system (Krell) and, although it was difficult to ascertain the specific sonic characteristics of the Calypso preamp in a system unfamiliar to me, i was very impressed with the build quality of the preamp - and the system did sound very nice.

To complicate matters of listening to a BHK - due to my location outside for the US - I do not qualify for PSA’s excellent buy / return policy.

This probably sounds weird… but if the BHK sounds as good as the DSD, did - it’s a no brainer for me. But I’m curious whether inserting the BHK into ones system raises the SQ and musicality bar as much as inserting the DSD?

Would be amazing if folks have experience using both the BHK and Calypso preamps and are able to share some thoughts…:slight_smile:

Much appreciated, TJ


As usual, these sorts of questions are tough to answer because so much is personal taste.
I’ve used the volume control in my DSD Sr and it sounded great. Many people seem to like this best and it saves you having to buy a preamp.
That said, I have had both a BHK and Calypso preamp and they’re both top of the pile for build quality and sound quality. If I were in your position, I’d buy which ever of those two preamps I could get the cheapest, they’re both that good.
btw----One area where the BHK shines beyond the Calypso for me is the headphone amp which gives great sound and eliminates you needing a separate headphone amp.


You guys are going to love this equipment. The Direct Stream DAC with Snowmass is amazing, I use mine with LessLoss C-MARC powercords and Firewall x64 filter, takes an already amazing dac up two or three more levels. I also have the BHK Pre and I live in Hamilton Ontario, Talk to Kevin Deal, he will ship you tubes. I have both some Amprex NOS 7308s as well as the BHK Special Tube, both are amazing, my preference in my systemn is the Amprex, but it is very close to the BHL Special Tube.



Where did you purchase your Amperex tubes louawalters? Did you get both from Kevin?
Also, I’ve noticed there have been several recommendations of different tube vendors. Just wondering what the real differences are as they all seem to test and match them.



Kevin Deal, and I bought the cryogenically treated versions, as they are stronger, and possibly will last longer. I buy my power tubes (KT150s) from Partsconexxion in Oakville, as they warantee their tubes. For NOS, there is another vendor I bought from some time ago, but cannot remember his name - he was also good, I will dig through some email and if I can find his name I will send over to you.




Thanks Lou.

I’m getting a real collection of tubes. None are NOS though.


That’s the exact same path I took with the DS and Aesthetic Calypso and found the BHK pre to outdo it. The combo of BHK and DS is nothing short of magical. You owe it to yourself to audition the combo.


That’s cool Paul! I’d love the opportunity to audition the DS/BHK combo… but I’m out in the sticks!

Based on the impressive performance of the Direct Stream DAC Sr. in my system in December…I gotta go for the BHK. I had my heart set on the Aesthetix Calypso, but there’s something to be said about matching gear. And I believe you Paul. I’m looking for magic!
Thanks all, TJ.


Thanks TJ I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Please post your reactions as soon as they are formed.


You betcha Paul! I can’t wait…:):smile:

split this topic #68

5 posts were merged into an existing topic: We also love cars


Very interesting, since installing the BHK 300 monoblocks, I have almost imperceptible volume clicking. Almost zero!


The clicking/snapping on mine was pretty noticeable, but once my single ended cables were removed and the balanced XLR cables installed, the clicks are nearly gone.