Preamp Ventilation

So how much space between the top and a shelf is needed for the preamp to have enough ventilation? Am thinking of stacking the BHK preamp on the PS DAC which allows for like 2" between the top of the preamp and the underside of a shelf. The stand is open on all sides.

I wonder if the magnetic field put out by the preamps power supply might have a negative effect on the DS DAC’s sonics.

In my experience 2" would be enough ventilating space (though I don’t have a BHK preamp, I’ve had a few tubed and solid state preamps and used both types with about that much ventilation successfully).

I really doubt that the “electromagnetic field” would be a problem. The weight of the preamp may alter the sound a bit. I agree with Steve Herbelin of Herbie’s Audio Lab and I believe Paul also) who said “don’t stack if you don’t have to” but I think the difference won’t be great (and may be an improvement in a certain system).

My rack has 1.75" of space between the top of my BHK Pre and the next solid shelf. The BHK Pre runs luke warm. For reference my Salamander Synergy S323 stand is vented from the front and back sides only.

Two inches above the BHK in my rack, too. Open sides all around. No issues in a year of use.


Anyone stacking the DAC and Preamp? Of any of the PS Audio units?

Sure. Just make certain the units which need ventilation still get it.

Exactly. Preamp always on top so the tubes have somewhere to vent

I’ve seen various discussions on stacking. Aside from the ventilation issue, does anyone have a concern of the upper unit scratching the gloss finish on the lower unit? I have the DSD and am adding the BHK preamp. Given space issues, stacking may be needed with the preamp on top for ventilation. But I want to preserve the pristine appearance, so I don’t want to scratch the surfaces. Anyone stacking using pads or some other method? Thx.

Many who stack leave the protective plastic on.

Otherwise, treat like a piano. I suggest a bit of wool felt. I would not let sorbothane, silicon, any plastic you do not know is inert, etc. to contact the finish.

roadsterluver said

. . . I want to preserve the pristine appearance . . .

But the DSD comes with a clear plastic protector already installed over the piano gloss black top. Surely you didn’t remove that, did you? Well, there goes that unit’s resale value!

Just remove the BHK’s round feet - there is a molded crescent-shaped foot that will fit around the outer edge of the DSD’s top. If you take care to lift the BHK up when you install or remove it you shouldn’t have a problem with scratches.

I learned about the evil of sorbothane years ago. Removing the feet or trying wool felt sounds promising - thanks.

I still have the plastic cover. Reminds me of my grandmother’s living room with clear plastic covers on the furniture. Ugh!

I’ve had a number of gloss black piano speakers over the years. The best protection is Meguiar’s Gold auto polish. No hairline scratches what-so-ever. And my speakers will do 0 - 60 in 4 seconds.

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Almost as quick as my Z06. But will they corner?


New-to-me BHK pre… thanks RonP! You didn’t say it was a SIGNED unit, that’s good for +20% better SQ, I figure… :grinning:
I’ve only got about 1/2" clearance above the pre, with feet removed…enough? Or time to get a new rack?

I have mine enclosed, take off the metal tube grill/cover. It just serves to hold heat.

I have 2 1/2" clearance, I don’t think I’d want to go any closer without active cooling.

Sounds like an excuse for a new rack. But seriously that’s really pushing it for a tubed unit.

Yeah, kinda figured. Thanks!

Can you move something like an amp or power conditioner to the floor on a butcher block?

Yep. Found rack shelf extenders too! Plenty of options.