Love my BHK Pre....choosing power amp though?

I’m interested in this thread as it’s a great question.

  1. What is the BHK/Mac connection?
  2. I have a jr into a C47 and out to MC501s. Was looking at a BHK pre.
  3. FYI- I see 300s pre owned for about 7500… (I look at pre-owned as well, some perhaps do not).

First question - do you want tubes or solid state? Have a strong preference? Even with all the recent advances in tube power amplifiers, there remains a distinct difference in the two, although those differences have narrowed. Are you going to go balanced? Not all your amplifier choices will necessarily support balanced interconnections.

With so little information about what your preferences are and your price point is, I can only relate my own experience. I use my BHK Preamp with a Pass X250.5 power amplifier and couldn’t be happier. Gives me full differential performance end to end. And in my humble opinion Nelson Pass is quite simply the greatest living designer of solid state power amplification. The X250.5 has been superseded by the X250.8, which incrementally improves on an already classic design.

Were I to do it again … I would still purchase a X series Pass power amplifier. As long as my X250.5 keeps working I consider it a lifetime investment.

My 2 cents worth.

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I replaced a Mcintosh MC302, which is a fine sounding amp, with BHK300s. When I was auditioning the BHKs, I brought my MC with me to Upscale. Kevin allowed me to bring my MC302 in and compare side by side with the BHK, hooked to some Focal speakers. The difference was immediately obvious, the BHKs had a lot more width, depth and general fullness than the MC302.
I left with the BHKs. Mcintosh garnered almost all the cash I spent on it new. It didn’t hurt that I got Kevin down to about 50% of retail on the BHK.
McIntosh is really well built and a solid performer, just not as agile as the BHK 300s, or, the BHK 250, for that matter.


Another nod to giving the Pass Amps a serious look. I too have the BHK Pre and decided on the Pass X250.8 and couldn’t be happier with the decision. The BHK Pre and Pass Amp make a wonderful pair. Having come from a pure Class A amp, having the Pass Amp stay in Class A for the first 13 watts was the deciding point for me. The amp almost never (extremely rare) gets out of Class A and I do punch it.

If you can arrange a listen then do try. Checkout Reno HiFi who have a great return policy, because they’re confident you won’t return it. I’m sure they’re right.


At the moment I’m using a 1m Wireworld Gold Eclipse 8 interconnect between the BHK and my 300B SET power amp.

I have been through more than a few amps, and have to say I am very happy with the BHK monoblocks. I have owned a Mac 452, Parasound JC1 monoblocks, Moon monoblocks and a few other not so notable. The BHK are my favorite, with a close second being the JC1s.

Also, the BHK amps have an obvious synergy with the BHK Pre that I just love. Lots of good deals on PSA amps out there as well. Fun problem to have. : )


Thanks Guys, food for thought.

Would the 300s be overkill in a normal sized room?
(My speakers are Impulse H2 horns, (94 dB) BHK Pre/DSD)

I am no expert by any means; but I tend to subscribe to the conventional wisdom that you can’t really have two much clean (distortion-free) power (provided you don’t overdrive/abuse your speakers). I think it would take a lot of power to get to “overkill” in most rooms with most conventional speakers. Rather, having too little WPC to accommodate normal listening levels for a given pair of speakers (and trying to compensate by turning up the volume and overdriving the amplifier) is where the real danger is.

A couple of nuggets for your consideration:

  1. Harmon Professional Solutions Insights Article on Speakers and “Power”

  2. JL Audio Help Center - Doubling Power vs. Doubling Output

Curious as to what others might report back/offer by way of opinion…

No need to spend double the money if you don’t need to. The 250 is a fine amp and will drive most anything especially 94 db horns.


Thanks Guys,
Comes down to the 250 against the Big Mac think…

BHK is cheaper, but wondering if the 450 w/c Mac will give much more grunt and scale?

I love the Mac sound and also the timeless looks.

Generally speaking, it is my understanding that to produce an increase of +3 dB you would have to go from 250 watts to 500 watts. Overall, b/t the two amps you are considering, I would focus on how they sound first, and how much current they can deliver, second (in terms of the demand of your speakers; i.e., how easy they are to drive). Based on what you have said in this thread so far, I think these two considerations are more important than the 250 vs. 450 watts.




My speakers are 94dB horns, and very transparent, so an easy load for either amp I think.
Taking a punt soundwise, as wont get a chance to hear them in the UK.
though I am familiar with the BHK Pre and the DS Dac, both superb.

Then it looks like it comes down to which amplifier sounds better.

Decisions, decisions…


My speakers are 93db per watt. The BHK 250 is more than enough for them.

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Very prescient information…thank you.

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How do you guys with the BHK Pre, high sensitivity speakers and beefy power amps like the BHK’s get on with background noise?

My horns are 94/95dB and previously used an 8 watt SET amp, with ample volume.
Not overly concerned about having loads of power on tap, more about background hiss/ noise.

Any BHK combo’s with high dB speakers having issues out there…hopefully not!


My Speakers are 93db per watt sensitive. The BHK 250 with the stock Gold Lion tubes is dead quiet. The BHK Preamp with the stock Psvanes and Gold Lion and Sylvania NOS is Very quiet. With the Tungsrams and most 6 volt tubes I have tried is noisy to the point of hearing the hiss at my listening position. That is my 2 cents!

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Have had the Tungstrams in since I got my BHK Pre, used with a flea powered SET.
All good, dead quiet.

Using a different amp, a temp stand in Rotel 70 Wpc and have to say I found the hiss quite distracting from my listening spot about 7 feet away.
Bit quieter with current at 4ma, but loses some of the magic in the sound.
Decided I couldn’t live with with the hiss or the reduction in quality at 4ma, so .
swapped in the Stock PSvanes.

They’ve never actually been used, so like new.
Different sound from the Tung’s, less meat on the bone but that could be as they are new.
Sound better again at 5ma, bit more oomph and more importantly I can live with the much reduced hiss, but it’s still there.

Which raised the concern of a poweramp (With my speakers and BHK Pre) of 70 Wpc causing hiss), what about a BHK at 250…or even a McKintosh at 450!

Asking the same question elsewhere on Forumland, but wanted to ask here too where it’s PS Audio specific.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

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My horns are also 95dB and sound great with the BHKpre/BHK300s. There is a bit of hiss, that I tamed using 10dB attenuators at the amp input.

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