New to BHK 250


#1

I just picked up a demo silver PS Audio BHK 250. Replaced a pair of Emotiva XPA-1 gen 1’s. I really like the smoother sound and more detailed sound from the BHK 250. Since I picked up a demo, I assume it’s burned in, and I have no idea how many hours it has on the tubes. So I may pick up some tubes to roll. I am excited. BHK preamp will be next!

PS Audio has turned out so truly amazing products the past 6 years!!! happy-132_gif


#2

Thanks!!


#3

I’ve had the BHK 250 for almost a month now. There are several threads but this seems as good a place as any to put some thoughts.

First, the BHK continued to improve for over 300 hours; that 100-hour break-in mentioned in the manual really needs revision.

The BHK is without a doubt the most refined, subtle amp I’ve ever owned. It reveals small inflections in a singer’s voice or a player’s articulation that show exactly what what’s going on and draw me in to the music. This quality of the BHK was evident from the moment I put in my system. As the amp settled in, I became particularly impressed with the way it clarifies complex music, like a full orchestra. I can hear more deeply into the music than I have ever been able to at home. Bass is better controlled and perhaps a little more extended, and soundstaging is better (within the limits of my weird room).

All was not perfect, though. For several years I ran a bi-amped setup with a tubed amp (Golden Tube SE-40) driving the midrange/tweeter section and a sold state amp on the bass module. This setup was very musical and enjoyable, although not the ultimate in resolution. With the BHK in place, I admired the clarity and generally enjoyed the music very much. I could not identify any particular aspect of musical reproduction that was lacking, but something still didn’t seem quite right. I thought that I had gotten so used to the slightly euphonic coloration of the SE-40 that I just needed to get accustomed to a more neutral-sounding amp. Yet sometimes I still missed the tube amp, which did not seem to make sense.

Two days ago I put in a set of Tungsram PCC88 tubes that I had purchased but held off installing until I felt that the BHK was completely broken in and I had a good handle on its sound. As it turned out, I wasn’t wrong in thinking that I wasn’t getting the best of the BHK. From the moment I installed the Tungsrams, the sound relaxed a little and instruments sounded noticeably more like themselves, while the overall clarity remained. With the stock tubes it seemed as though an oboe sounded like an oboe, but the Tungsrams showed that there was real room for improvement in instrumental timbre. I would guess that this has to do with better reproduction of harmonics. The Tungsrams are both more accurate and more enjoyable, at least for me. Soundstage depth was also better and there was a little more bass.

The above comments are based on listening through my DS DAC/Bridge II combo, with source material ranging from redbook CD through DSD. The BHK sits on a PowerBase (used just for isolation, since I have a P5 to power the system).

The BHK amp is a masterful design and deserves all the good things that have been written about it. The takeaway from my experience is that tubes clearly do matter. With the upgraded tubes I am getting the kind of sound that I hoped for when I decided to go for a BHK 250.


#4

happy-132_gifgoofy-heart_gif


#5

Funny, I ordered a pair of Tungsram PCC88 tubes on Friday eve. Hope to have them installed Tuesday eve! I’ll report back sometime later next week giving them time to burn in.

Next step is the BHK preamp.smiley-music005_gif


#6
darrenv1070 said Funny, I ordered a pair of Tungsram PCC88 tubes on Friday eve. Hope to have them installed Tuesday eve! I'll report back sometime later next week giving them time to burn in.
Please let us know. Mine haven't changed much with burn-in; maybe the bass is a little tighter, no other differences so far. It also occurred to me that those who prefer a more forward presentation or have more forgiving speakers might prefer the stock tubes. I listened more tonight and continued to be captivated by what I heard.
Next step is the BHK preamp.smiley-music005_gif
I'm thinking about that too. I sold some stuff and have a little cash . . . 105_gif

#7

My BHK preamp is the first tubes I’ve owned in many moons, should they be replaced after X hours ? What is best practice ?


#8
magister said
darrenv1070 said Funny, I ordered a pair of Tungsram PCC88 tubes on Friday eve. Hope to have them installed Tuesday eve! I'll report back sometime later next week giving them time to burn in.

Please let us know. Mine haven’t changed much with burn-in; maybe the bass is a little tighter, no other differences so far. It also occurred to me that those who prefer a more forward presentation or have more forgiving speakers might prefer the stock tubes. I listened more tonight and continued to be captivated by what I heard.

Next step is the BHK preamp.smiley-music005_gif

I’m thinking about that too. I sold some stuff and have a little cash . . . 105_gif


Don’t forget we take trade ins at full MSRP here in the States…

#9
rogerdn said My BHK preamp is the first tubes I've owned in many moons, should they be replaced after X hours ? What is best practice ?
If you want to be rigorous I'd replace one a year under daily use conditions, once every couple if less than that.

#10
Paul McGowan said
rogerdn said My BHK preamp is the first tubes I've owned in many moons, should they be replaced after X hours ? What is best practice ?

If you want to be rigorous I’d replace one a year under daily use conditions, once every couple if less than that.


Thanks, I assume they are available through PS Audio.

#11

You bet!


#12

I have purchased a pair of of Tungstrem PCC88 premiums with cryo treatment from Upscale Audio and let them play all day ( 10 hrs ) with a burn in cd. Boy was I impressed when I got home. The amp has an even bigger sound stage, deeper and detailed. I am loving the BHK 250. Don’t miss my Emo XPA-1 gen 1’s monos at all!

Thanks PS Audio for keeping the music alive!


#13
darrenv1070 said I have purchased a pair of of Tungstrem PCC88 premiums with cryo treatment from Upscale Audio and let them play all day ( 10 hrs ) with a burn in cd. Boy was I impressed when I got home. The amp has an even bigger sound stage, deeper and detailed. I am loving the BHK 250. Don’t miss my Emo XPA-1 gen 1’s monos at all!

Thanks PS Audio for keeping the music alive!


As I mentioned in the other posting of this, this tube rolling ability puts the BHKs in a special class. Imagine being able to easily tweak the sound for such things like greater depth and soundstage with a tube choice! It’s like the benefits of DirectStream and its ability to be updated.

I do wish I could experiment like this too - but I have to keep mine as a reference…